Whenever I travel out of town, one of the first things I do is search for the nearest Catholic Church. Somehow, no matter how new my surroundings are, I feel such a sense of the familiar as I enter the holy space. It's like being home. Today was no different. My husband had a conference in Indianapolis, and as soon as we settled into our hotel, we went for a walk in the downtown area and discovered St. John the Evangelist Church. We were pleasantly surprised to find it open as some of the churches are locked during the day. We entered quietly so as not to disturb any worshipers but then found we were the only ones there. Initially, I felt disappointed that not one person was present to our Lord but then I was selfishly enjoying myself as I walked ever so slowly throughout the vast interior. There were beautiful side altars with large statues depicting various saints. The votives were all burning brightly so many prayers had been offered sometime during the day. We lingered, lighting candles at Mary's altar and also at the altar of St. Joseph lifting up many intentions which we carried in our hearts. We left the church with a great sense of peace.
As we stepped outside we noticed a large crowd just a quarter of a block away. We wanted to see what was going on so we walked up the street filled with curiosity. Much to our surprise, we saw a large bus with the American Idol logo parked in the middle of the block and thousands of young people all lined up to audition for the upcoming show. What a sight that was compared to where we had just been! Many of the kids had guitars strapped to their backs ready to show off their talent to whomever would listen. We saw one young man singing his heart out as a TV camera recorded him. I could only imagine what his dreams were; to be discovered, to become a star, to make a lot of money and live an exciting life of travel and performing. This was one city with thousands having this same dream. How many more thousands would stand in line in other cities knowing that only one would be chosen as the American Idol? Many would believe they were the one. I stood for the longest time just watching them and silently praying for them. I also prayed for the young man locked in handcuffs by the police for some infraction I hadn't seen. I wished I could have told them about where I had just been. I wished I could have told them about the One who was waiting for them, where there were no lines. He is the One who bestowed on them their talents, who would open wide the doors of opportunity for them. But maybe they had already been to that beautiful church seeking God first. Maybe they were the ones who lit all of those votive candles. I can only hope.