Blessed Are Those Who Have Not Seen
I woke up yesterday morning and debated whether to go to the early mass, or else go to Oak Mountain and then go to the five o’clock mass. The weather forecast said AM storms and PM sun, so I decided to go to the eight thirty mass.
I don’t often get emotionally involved in church services, nor do I think that is essential to worship. But yesterday was different. I don’t know why, but I found myself staring at the crucifix. What a ridiculous story, I thought, God made man, hanging naked on a tree. A lot of stuff in the Bible makes no sense. Most of the world makes no sense. God dying makes no sense. But as I looked at the statue, that all faded. Whatever may be the reasons, the sight of God on the cross made me trust him.
I was captivated, and longed to walk up to the crucifix and touch it. Then I remembered that the whole point of the mass was that I would get to touch the Son of God. And I did.
When I returned to my spot after taking the bread, I watched every other person approach the priest and receive the body of Christ. Probably because I had come alone, I was feeling seriously disconnected yesterday. I didn’t know anyone there. They did’t know me. But we all partook of the same body and blood. I felt united. I watched and thought, “brother,” “sister.”
Then I went home. I cooked some breakfast, ate, cleaned up, and then sat on the couch, drinking my coffee and listening to the radio. My plan was to loaf until late afternoon, then go for a bike ride. It would have been a typical Sunday, though lived in light of an atypical mass.
At about twelve thirty, my best friend called. I was excited to hear his voice, thinking he was going to tell me that he and his wife just had their second child. When he said my name, and then was silent, I knew that would not be the case. They went to the hospital as planned. But there was no heartbeat. All I could say was God I’m so sorry; I wish I was there. He promised to call me again later, I told him to do it whenever he felt like it. Then we hung up.
I sat and stared ahead. My dog wandered into the room, and I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. We did. For about four hours we plodded through the surrounding neighborhoods. Defying the forecast, a thunderstorm passed through. We hid under the side entrance to the Independent Presbyterian Church on Highland Avenue, and from there watched quite a lightning show. As I watched the bolts fly, landing who knows where and destroying who know what, I wondered why my friends had to suffer. Why I could not be with them. What they would do. If I could do anything to help. I never thought of any answers.
We finished our walk and came home, where I spent the night watching old home movies. No-one in any of these videos lives within four hundred miles of me. Some of them don’t live at all anymore. There was my baby brother at Christmas. He would be thirteen now. Then my little sister, who would be eleven. What would they be like today? What are they doing now? Will I see them again?
Once more, I don’t know. I’ll go to mass again today. And again I’ll think of God dying. And again I’ll watch everyone else take His body in their hands. And maybe I’ll never understand. Maybe I’ll never have answers. But for a few moments at least, I’ll trust, and I’ll feel united not just with everyone around me, but with everyone I no longer see.