Going to church on Sundays sets the tone for my week. God speaks to me when I'm at Mass. I'm not saying he sits down next to me and says, "Hey Jimbo, let's go for wings after church! And put your money on the Phillies this year." It's a far more subtle conversation. The end result is that no matter how tired or beaten down I was going into church, I leave church recharged and ready for the week ahead. If I'm on the schedule as a Eucharistic Minister, that battery recharge for my soul is triply intense.
Last week was a depressing grind. There were no major tragedies in my life; it was more a matter of still coming off yet another election loss and sitting down to the sobering month-end financials on the home front. (Anyone who thinks all Republicans are rich S.O.B.'s who detest the poor and only want to crush the working class ought to swing by my place on one of my macaroni nights. I get a helluva lot of mileage out of cheese ends, elbow macaroni, and a great roux to start it all off.) It's one thing to be pretty much worn down physically, but it's the feeling of futility, that the hard work isn't paying off, that really tears at the edges of one's soul.
After closing my Quicken software on Saturday night (a depressing session where I realized I'm likely not going to be able to retire to the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the seven grand left in my IRA) I realized how badly I needed church on Sunday. I was on the schedule for Eucharistic Minister, and so much the better. I really needed that weekly talk with God (who I think is actually a Cubs fan; someone has to love the Cubbies).
Sunday morning I woke early, looking forward to that conversation with the Creator. Off to Mass I went. I took my place in the pew, and nothing happened. Zip. Nada. Our Lord was conspicuously absent from my pew. He was there for the Eucharist, of course and stood just behind me while I gave Communion. But he didn't say a word and didn't come back to the pew with me.
Church ended. I walked back to my car. Maybe he was there, in the passenger seat, ready to elbow me and say, "...just messing with you Jimbo."
Nope. I was in that car alone. I'd been to Mass. I'd anxiously awaited that kick-start to my week, that recharging of my soul's battery. The battery was now, in fact, dead.
All I had for my trip to Mass was a church bulletin. I started the drive home, feeling worse by the second.
A hundred yards from my intersection, I saw a big rock in the middle of the road. As I prepared to steer around it, the rock moved. It was a snapping turtle, big, ugly and halfway across Union Street. He had left the creek and was headed to the woods. He was in a position of peril. I pulled off the road, backed up, and stopped next to him. I considered picking him up and taking him to the edge of the trees. I've had some small experiences with snapping turtles, so I wasn't worried about getting chomped on. Instead, I decided to watch for vehicles on this normally busy road. I'd be his guardian, but at a distance, and I'd only leave the car if I saw a vehicle coming.
No one drove by; it was like the traffic was miraculously rerouted.
On he slogged, inch by inch, stopping every once in a while just because he damned well felt like it. Finally he was across the road. He raised his head high, looked across the road and directly into my eyes, and a single word formed in my mind: PERSEVERE.
Sometimes God sends a prophet. Sometimes He sends a great figure like Moses. And I guess sometimes He sends a turtle.
I'm set for the week, and likely well beyond.
|Whaddya looking at? And quit whining.|
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