It's a drizzly Monday afternoon. A curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea kind of day. I have several good books to read right now and more on the way via the library so that suits me just fine. I find having a cup of tea an occasion. Dearest one drinks coffee on the go but tea seems to me to be a slow down and enjoy the moment drink.
We have a new priest at our little church and as a community we are slowly getting used to each other. He comes from India and when he came to us he said his bishop had given him a three year vacation in Canada so he was at our disposal for the term. He is devout and deep. He looks much younger than his 63 years, his countenance one of bright eyes and peace. He preaches without notes and my head is still full of things to ponder weeks after every homily. He cuts to the quick with every gospel reading, leaving little wiggle room. Being in relationship with Jesus is his constant theme. Living this life from the heart, authentic in every way is there, too. Grace, mercy, compassion, the call to a continually deeper conversion get woven in amongst it all. As much as we mourn the changes, (we've petitioned the bishop to bring Fr. Charlie back after his term is up in the other parish) one woman whispered to me the other day, "God hasn't forgotten about us" in response to my question as to how she liked this new priest. We feel blessed to have his years of wisdom and his gracious spirit ministering to us.
We missed the way Fr. Charlie had invited us around the altar for the Lord's prayer and communion. We felt a little bewildered the first time we stood in our pews and said the Our Father and then lined up for communion. After a few weeks I approached the new priest and told him what we were used to. He wanted to honour what our tradition was so he now invites us up at those moments as well. Our church is so tiny that to line up for communion causes a traffic jam. Some Sundays we have to stretch out our arms while coming nearly right up against the altar so that we can all hold hands for prayer.
Yesterday a little boy, maybe 3 years old, was a joy to watch as he went around the altar and shared the sign of peace with everyone there. I love how the Mass is not a spectator service but a participatory celebration. This little guy has been sharing the sign of peace since he was old enough to toddle around. No one has coached him, he's simply observed what we do and wants to be a part of the community. After Mass yesterday his older sister brought him up to the front to blow out one of the altar candles. We all watched with big grins as he tried many, many times to blow out the candle but was not big enough yet to manage it. What was really special was that another boy, older by several years, had raced up to do this as well. He did one side and as he turned to do the other he saw this little guy being lifted by his sister and he encouraged and celebrated his attempt as the rest of us did.
This morning I had an appointment with our family doctor. He is a good, patient man. I have never felt rushed through an appointment. He listens well and is a teacher at heart. He has a quick sense of humour that's a little different. One time I ranted to him about a pharmacist in the community that I really disliked. I went a bit over the top calling the man an a**h***. A week or so later I felt prompted to write my doctor a note apologizing for my comments. I met him in the grocery store shortly after that and we talked. When I worked my next women's weekend he wrote me a note of encouragement and added a PS at the bottom that told me to consider the weekend a sabbatical from annoying pharmacists. That made me laugh outloud.
Every time I see him I want to proclaim that my body is falling apart yet again. Last night my knee locked up on me and that has put an end to my daily walks for a while. Between that and plantar fasciitis I'm in pain. But both are treatable so it's really more annoying than anything.
The couch is looking good right about now. Wish you were here to join me in a cup of tea and a good chat. That's my favourite way to spend time.