Day Twenty-One

In the wake of a powerful storm, it is natural to reassess. To take stock and give thanks. I was grateful that we had power because according to the scrolling banner at the bottom of my television screen, 225,000 Pepco customers did not. I was so appreciative that my children were sound asleep upstairs after roaming around half the night looking for comfort. I was thankful that my gas grill had not, indeed, flown off the deck and all was just as it should be as I surveyed the perimeter.
So, if I had so much to celebrate, why was I putting off getting ready for church? I had to go. Mac was an altar boy and he couldn’t drive himself. What if the church didn’t have power? I logged on and checked the Pepco website for outages. The pretty color coded map told me that the Church was not in the dark. I glanced at the clock again and crawled upstairs to wake Mac up. I tip-toed around the second floor so as not to rouse anyone else.
As I crept around my room getting dressed, Reed stirred in my bed and I froze. I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to church, I wanted to go alone.
With Mac on the altar, I could actually be alone. Alone with God. Alone with my thoughts. Alone.
I couldn’t actually remember the last time I was alone. Even in the shower, I usually had visitors. Just last week Drew popped in while I was showering to tell me that Enrique Inglesias sounded really bad on live television. Not a surprising fact to me, but noteworthy to Drew nonetheless.
Mac managed to shower and dress without waking anyone and I used copious amounts of bad sign language to communicate vital information to him. I held up my watch and did the running man to say “we’ve got to go.” I pointed to his clothes and smacked my forehead while shaking my head side to side to say, “You cannot wear that, it doesn’t match.” Somewhere in the middle of miming his breakfast choices for the car, both Reed and Drew came downstairs.
They were too groggy to protest when I said we were leaving and they would have to go to a later Mass with their dad. As we were walking out the door, Drew threw on flip-flops and walked out behind us. It happened to be pouring at the moment. He announced that he was going to assess storm damage and we passed him as we drove out of the neighborhood walking down the alley with a raincoat and umbrella. He was in heaven.
So was I. In but a few moments I was going to be alone. My mood was momentarily dampened–literally– when I realized that an umbrella in Drew’s hand meant no umbrella in the car. God didn’t care what I looked like, right? No one will be at the early Mass anyway, I thought. They are all home digging out.
I dropped Mac off at the door and parked the car. I sat for a few minutes in the hope that the rain would let up. As I waited, I wondered where all these people came from. This Mass was crowded. Eventually, I had to make a break for it although the temptation to just stay in the car was overwhelming.
Inside, I slipped into a pew in the back of the church. I had two wet strands of hair that were hanging down in my eyes which prompted me to pray for the patience not to be angry at Drew for nabbing my umbrella on the way out the door. I really tried to listen to the readings but I was so tired from riding out the storm with NBC until 4am I was struggling to pay attention. That prompted me to pray for the strength to make it through the day on approximately three hours of sleep. Then I felt badly for being selfish, so that prompted me to pray for all the poor people who had perished in the storm or sustained some loss or damage. My lack of sleep paled in comparison to their situation.
The priest was talking about the cross and suffering and just as I started to follow this sermon, there was a rustling of bags at the other end of the pew.
I shifted in my seat and grabbed a missalette so it wouldn’t be obvious that I was staring at the elderly woman and her loud plastic grocery bag. While I flipped through the book, ostensibly looking for this week’s readings, I spied the woman unscrew the cap of what appeared to be a large container of instant lemonade. It was the kind of jar that allowed you to measure the powder into the lid and pour it into the pitcher for mixing. She poured some of the powder into the lid and shook it straight into her mouth, screwed on the lid and put it back in the bag.
Now I had to assume that this was some sort of medicinal procedure but drinking any kind of powder without water is torture. Talk about your crosses to bear and suffering. No one would do this unless they had to. So, that prompted me to pray for her and whatever condition she might have that made her drink dry powder from a lid.
There is no more awkward thing in the world than the Sign of Peace at Mass. No two people handle this rite the same way. Some folks nod. Others give you a half wave and a smile. Yet others seem totally surprised that you are turning to greet them and just stare at you. And of course, you have those that shake your hand.
Since I was alone at my end of the pew, I turned behind me to the woman seated there who just nodded. As I swiveled back to the front, the man who had been sitting diagonally in a pew alone as well has come calling. He startled me as he appeared at my side, but we shook hands and he left. I gave the half-wave to the woman at the end of the pew.
My solitude was almost over as the Mass was winding down. I took a moment to reassess and give thanks for all my good fortune and health. That prompted me to pray that Dunkin Donuts down the street had electricity as well. At that moment, caffeine and a donut seemed like the answer to my prayers.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 357 other followers

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: