It was the penises that pushed me over the edge.
This endless campaign year which apparently started before my birth and looks set to continue until well after I am dust has been so ugly. Vacuous debates with no resemblance to actual discourse; or meaningless, nasty debates in which no actual policy is discussed and of which moderators lose control and do not hold the candidates accountable for answering questions (except poor Meghan Kelly) but when the Most Obnoxious of Them All sank to discussing the adequacy of his genitalia well, I am done. So done. Done, done, done with them.
Sorrow, circling around my heart for many, many weeks, sorrow for Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Patrick Henry, George Washington, all our Founders and Framers, and most of all our country, broke over my heart like a cracked egg. Who have we become?
It is easy to just give up. Bow out. Put my head in the sand, pull the covers over my head, <insert metaphor for willful ignorance HERE>, because it’s hard to find much good in the current swamp of ugliness and vitriol. It turns my outlook dark and full of terrors.
But then I saw something lovely happen.
Arriving super early to church last Sunday to Do My Part for a micro-event but finding no one else who was supposed to help, I allowed grumpy resentfulness to step in and sit a spell and truth be told, it’s the sort of guest who rarely asks for an invitation. It just shows up in the living room like something the dog dragged in and I wonder, how did that get in here, when to tell more truth it was me leaving the door open.
So I did my bit with no grace at all and after a while I received the surely divinely inspired thought of stopping in the little chapel off the main sanctuary. Every time I pass it I make a mental note of the lovely, serene light emanating from it but I’ve never done more than poke my head inside. This time, in my state of High Grumbly, I knew I needed to sit a minute alone before services. The picture doesn’t do it justice; the natural light floods the stained glass window and fills the tiny room with a soothing, ethereal calm. It spilled over me and my grumpy like cool water over a sunburn.
Fr. Mark’s sermon on the Prodigal Son was particularly good, and I was glad I’d let the Chapel light wash away my resentment so I could hear it, and so I could see what happened during Communion.
Arriving alone after the service started and on a walker for support, entered an old man with the pasty complexion of the recently ill. The usher guided him to the end seat of a row. Throughout the service I saw the old man adjusting his posture and I know well what back pain looks like. He was struggling, he was hurting, but he was there. When it came time for Communion he stayed in his seat, the walk to and from the altar apparently too much. But I saw the usher whispering to him and after the last of us left the altar rail Fr. Jim came with the paten and bread, Ros with the chalice and wine and the usher knelt right down next to the old man, knelt on the hard tiles of the sanctuary, the young man kneeling beside the old man, and together they received the Eucharist in a spontaneous, perfect moment of Grace.
It was lovely and magic and human and divine. And I think I can pull my head out from under the covers, if only to look for other such moments.