Time for my Five Minute Friday contribution. Check out the amazing five minutes takes at fiveminutefriday.com (start at the community section) and share our pearls of wisdom or our pig’s ears or just mix and mingle.
I’ve been sharing snippets taken from Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat compiled by Susan Shipe. They are a testament to the value of the exercise. This week, I’ll share some perspective from Andrew. I hope she inspires you to check us out … and maybe join in?
“I looked back over my posts, and the first FMF I did was Oct. 16, 2014. I don’t think I missed one … It’s meant the world to me, this loving wonderful community. Much of my life was lived against a backdrop of feeling quite expendable … to bring back a pithy line from an old Rambo movie, it’s like if you invite someone to a party and he doesn’t show up, it doesn’t really matter. The past [almost six years] have shown me such a different world! Thank you, Kate, for making that possible.”
I might add, Andrew, his wife Barbara and umpteen rescue dogs live in New Mexico. Andrew is also dying … in the latter stages of pancreatic cancer which has knocked him down, but not out. He has vowed to participate as long as the Lord allows him to … and the Five Minute Friday community always await his wit and wisdom. Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat was in fact dedicated to him. For me, his words and his perseverance are a true profile in courage. My thoughts and prayers — along with others around the globe as members of this special community — are always with Andrew and Barb. His words are posted at blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/
Well, the prompt is RIGHT and the timer is set for five minutes, so lets GO…
Right or wrong?
Way back in the early 80s I attended Mass in a small rural Catholic hospital chapel. A young mother arrived with a relatively newborn babe cradled in her arms and two little kids about two and maybe five, but probably four. It was a recipe for disaster in the small chapel.
The “older” two were given crayons and construction paper to keep them busy in the pew. Predictably, whenever the two year old needed a different color, he would get up, go to the next pew, go through it, and return to his pew, get the crayon, and reverse himself. Of course, he did this as quietly as a two year old could … and it seemed he needed a different color just about 10 seconds. This went on during the early parts of the celebration, but eventually, he wanted the red crayon his big sister was using. “No,” she whispered as he started grabbing the crayon. With a chorus of “I’m using it now!” and “But I want that color” their little voices got louder and louder. Mom, rocking the newborn, tried to hush the other two, but their actions started riling the sleeping infant who started with a small … STOP
… whimper that evolved into a full throated cry. Poor mom was trying to play comforter and referee at the same time.
During his homily, the padre had had enough. He scolded the woman. “Can’t you control your children? They’re disrupting my sermon!”
“Sorry, Father,” she said starting to sob as she grabbed the children and headed for the door. “I was just trying to be a good Catholic and go to Mass.”
What did I do? What did my fellow congregants — maybe a dozen all told — do?
That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We just watched the disaster in the making unfold right before our eyes.
I know what I should have done, and, in fact, was mapping it out in my mind as the scene played out.
What I was formulating was helping the young woman by taking her out of the chapel before the rude comments by the chaplain. It was a hospital … a small, rural hospital which, on a busy week, had about 25% of its rooms occupied. I wanted to — no, I should have taken her into the hall, flagged down a nurse and brought her to a vacant room where she could watch the service on closed circuit television while giving the two and four year olds a little space. I wanted to — no, I should have colored with the youngsters and kept them occupied with a story or two. That’s what I wanted to do. That’s what I should have done.
Instead. I did nothing but sit in my pew as a silent witness to a religious meltdown. I couldn’t listen to the chaplain or his sermon. My mind kept racing back to the woman.
Was the priest right or wrong? I understand he was trying to present the message of the gospel, but in my mind, he failed miserably. I couldn’t tell you one word he uttered after the incident.
Was the woman right or wrong? Certainly, she should have recognized the potential for disaster but her faith impelled her to attend Mass. I don’t know her circumstances or why she was at the small chapel. Perhaps she was visiting someone in that hospital or she thought she could control the children better in the small space. Perhaps she was facing challenges and was looking for the intimacy of a familiar faith expression. I simply do not know.
Was I or the congregation right or wrong or silently complicit? I’ll speak for myself. My actions — or more appropriately my inactions — were not right. I was wrong in not acting proactively.
The story, unfortunately, is real. I was there. And I can tell you there were no souls saved that Sunday morning. There was a few, however, that may have been lost.
And that is just not right!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our souls — Edgar Allen Poe