St. Patrick’s Day Miracle

Painting

Even though this post is out of sequence from my original plans it must be told as it is a St. Patrick’s day story. It’s a bit long but if you’re a romantic it’s worth the read. Un I tell this story to despairing young adults pining for love but feeling as if they will never find it. And anybody who will listen. My husband and I may not be the greatest love story ever told, but we do have one of the best “get together” stories ever. Here it is.

I first met my husband in October 1983 as I walked across Loyola University Chicago’s campus where I was working on a master’s in pastoral studies. I had a live in position as a Residence Hall Chaplain, which provided a free apartment. Another chaplain and I were walking across campus when we ran into Gerry Tobin. I took one look at Gerry and thought to myself, “Oh, what a beautiful man.” We chatted for a few minutes then went on our way. The other chaplain, Kevin, said to me, “Watch out for that guy he’s dated every chaplain in your room.” Meaning he had some history there. Gerry, it turned out had recently left the Jesuits for the previous chaplain who had been in my apartment the year before. According to Kevin, they’d broken up shortly after. Problem was, I never ran into Gerry again.

Fast forward to St. Patrick’s Day 1984. I’m sitting in my apartment and writing in my journal. I had a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and I had paused to stare out the window to listen to a beautiful song, which I now know was by the Chieftans, played on the radio (shout out to WXRT). Did I mention Gerry is 100% Irish and that he had this lovely Boston accent? I looked skyward and began talking to God. I said, “Look God, I know I have really bad taste in guys (I had spectacularly bad taste in guys while in college), but I really want to be in a relationship. I really want to get married, and I really want to have kids. So–unless YOU put a guy in front of me with a big red bow on him that says “I’m yours,” I’m not doing anything.” Then I said, “What about that Gerry Tobin guy?” I closed my journal, laid down on my bed for a nap, and I kid you not, the phone rang (in 1984 the landline phones in dorms had the same phone number year after year), and it was Gerry Tobin. He had the wrong number. He was calling a friend with whom he had just had breakfast (I didn’t know this at the time), so he knew she was home, but he accidently called the number (mine) of his old girlfriend (who left him as soon as he’d left the Jesuits for her). I recognized his accent but said, “I’m sorry you must have the wrong number.” I have to pause here because I have to get ready for work more later…And I’ll include a recipe for Irish soda bread that is healthy and delicious.

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