For many religious people the mall is one of America’s prime symbols of crass materialism; yet that idea is only partially true. During the time I worked there, I met Jesus on numerous occasions.
My journey began when my religious superior asked me to look for a job after I left my position as a parish director of adult religious education too late to be assigned elsewhere. The job had to be part time as I also had been allowed time to write. When I finished my list of possibilities, I remembered an acquaintance who is the owner of a religious retail store. She told me once if I knew anyone who was honest she would be interested in talking to that person. So I called her and blurted out, “How would you like to hire me?” She called back thirty minutes later and I had a job.
I didn’t have to wait long for my encounter with Jesus as my first eye-opener took place during the evening I started work. Three young women with tattoos laced up their arms walked in. I asked one of them if they were looking for something particular and if I could be of help. Then the oldest of the three responded, “Do you have any prayers for the poor souls in purgatory?” To this day I hope my face didn’t express in neon what I was initially thinking. Like Abraham’s three visitors, these women helped me to be more open to the Divine Presence when It was least expected.