Old Irish Woman-Transforming a Bank to a Singing Church-Part 2

Photo by Thomas Vogel on Unsplash

We Ask For Forgiveness

So again, crying, loud enough for all to hear. A churchlike stillness was surrounding everyone in this dull greying bank branch. Moreover, Katy was yelling out more transgressions. The wording is half in Gaelic, but we get it. Katy adds: “We are sinners, we are born to suffer, G-d commands, loans are the road to perdition, dear Pope, forgive me.”

The customers and clerks watch in silence. Her distress is palpable. As a result, I know I have to do something. I take a deep breath and sit up. I clearly state, “I’m not a catholic, Katy, but I know the Pope is a good man, a Pope for everyone.” All in the bank murmur their agreement.

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Holy Holy Holy

I press on. “If the Pope were standing here right now and knew you were borrowing money for your single daughter, he would rejoice! He would tell all of us, ‘behold Katy, who is doing angel’s work and performing a selfless, good deed”.

In a flash of a moment, Katy’s eyes widen with understanding. Her tear-strewn face turns from an ashen white to a glowing gold of joy. As if a crack in heaven issued a thunderbolt, miraculously transforming her pain into pleasure. Then, finally, she embraces a papal edict laughing aloud. This sweet woman foresees from her days on her small potato farm in old Ireland. The smile lifts every down-trodden heart before her here, in da Bronx.

Katy shakes my hands and blesses me in the name of all the saints. After that, she named those saints as numerous as her offspring. Then, Katy added that she would light candles, say rosaries, and perform other homages.

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Sadness Turns To Rejoice

A cathartic experience washes over me in this suddenly jubilant atmosphere. People start clapping and whooping. A plump woman of color suddenly sings out. Hence, all hear “Jesus Saves, Praise the Lord!”. The singer has the rich voice of a gospel ministry. , Everyone is joining in, humming along. The loan officer taps me on the shoulder and tells me I am a good man. All I did was listen and demonstrate simple, heartfelt empathy.

Ramesh saw us out, congratulating Katy and whispering to me. “I’m delighted you were the notary today; thank you, Jeff.” We’re all being authentic and human and treating each other with respect and dignity. “G-d Bless,” Katy is announcing as I set off to the subway. Her hands clutched her handbag with its precious gift for her spinster daughter. I am smiling and wave goodbye.

Photo by Joshua Peacock on Unsplash

Treating all with Respect

At long last, I am in the subway car. The train is almost empty now, heading home a world away. The above-ground transportation is reverberating past Yankee Stadium. I keep catching myself smiling at my reflection in the train’s windows. Now, I earn an honest living, hitting singles daily closing loans. I am making much more than my pay grade. But on a level, that has become far more important to me.

I just hit one out of the park here on this sunny spring day in New York. An act of sincere kindness helped transform a bank into a singing gospel church.

The journey from world trekking to notary trekking and the lessons learned continue. — reinvention, discovery, and keeping it real.

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