Sunday, January 31, 2010

Rubbing Off The Edges

She looks like a little bird except I've never seen a tiny bird with such a grim look on its face. Yesterday I saw her on the far side of the big church, shoulders hunched under her familiar blue trench coat, blue paisley scarf wrapped around her hair so that only her pointy nose was visible from where I sat. Her familiar presence comforted me. Funny how that is. We might complain bitterly about the scowly neighbour three pews ahead of us and yet community is not truly community without all of us, not just the ones we take a shine to. How else would we get our rough edges rubbed off without people who rub us the wrong way?

The first time I noticed her, several years ago, I watched how she walked primly up to the altar after the Mass and firmly blew out the candles. I remember thinking to myself that she was a no nonsense kind of woman, the kind who might whack someone with her cane if necessary. Earlier, I had watched how she looked at the man beside her, looked the other away, took a second look, heaved a sigh that said, "oh, alright" and then gingerly held his hand during the Lord's prayer.

I wonder if she is as crotchety as she appears to be. I wonder if she is like my scary looking third grade teacher who had the highest of standards and had a heart of compassion. I wonder what her story is. What tragedies and consolations she has experienced in her life. We don't get to be who we are without there being a story, do we?

6 comments:

Madison said...

I wonder why you don't approach her. I wonder why God has you looking her direction.

Kathy M. said...

I love this post. You write beautifully.

What sticks out for me is "community is not truly community without all of us... How else would we get our rough edges rubbed off without people who rub us the wrong way." My sponsor calls these people our spiritual sandpaper.

Enchanted Oak said...

Oh, I like what you asked: How else would we get our rough edges rubbed off without people who rub us the wrong way?
And then Kathy adding that these people are our spiritual sandpaper.

What Madison asks gave me chills. Why does God have you looking in her direction?

Mary Christine said...

I'm thinking she doesn't even know that she appears so intimidating. Our faces betray us sometimes as we age.

Daisy said...

Absolutely, Hope. There is always a story. I always wonder about that when I people watch.

Mich

Jim said...

You remind me of myself, tending to look inside the person and wonder "why?", "what happened?", "who is this individual? Not that, from time to time, especially on the expressway, you couldn't catch me vocally blurting out my opinion of the other guy's behavior....