Sunday, May 09, 2010
My Mother's Day
Mother's Day was lovely. One of my favorite priests, my friend Sherry, decided weeks ago that we should have a healing service today, with special prayers and annointing offered to anyone who wanted them. That turned out to be a prescient decision: a longtime member of our congregation died two days ago, and her grieving family were there. Another parishioner has just had a recurrence of cancer; and I, of course, was feeling less jolly than I often do.
The service was personally meaningful to me for three reasons, seeming coincidences of the kind I've long since learned aren't really coincidence at all, especially at church. First, Sherry loves butterflies, and today I brought her something of my mother's, a small china box (part of Mom's extensive jewelry-storage collection) with butterflies on it. As it happened, today Sherry was wearing her beautiful ordination vestments, embroidered with large butterflies as a gift from the parish. So that was very fitting.
Secondly, one of the hymns we sang quoted the famous words from Luke 11:9, "Knock and the door shall be opened unto you." That reminded me how Mom raised her hand to knock at an invisible door before she died, just as my father had reached out to twist an invisible doorknob.
And third, Sherry preached on today's alternative Gospel, the healing story about the man to whom Jesus says, "Take up your mat and walk." I've heard the passage before, but had never noticed the detail of how long the man had been ill, and I wasn't sure I'd heard it right this morning. During the peace, I asked our deacon, "Hey, in the Gospel, has the guy been sick for twenty-eight years, or thirty-eight?"
My mother stopped drinking when she was thirty-eight, a miracle motivated largely by her love for me and my sister. How perfect is that?
After church, my friend Katharine and I went to the gym, where I swam for half an hour. Then we swung back home to pick up Gary before an expedition to Whole Foods. Katharine and I are both off wheat, and I'm also off dairy. Whole Foods is a mecca of gluten-free, dairy-free foods. It's not cheap, but for certain products, it's the best place in town. So I now have many yummy treats that won't wreak havoc with my digestion, although they may not do my waistline any good!
And tomorrow, I teach my last class. Hurrah!