Tuesday, December 27, 2016
It was a cold night outside the house when my wife tried to rouse the family to get dressed for church. We all made excuses for staying home where it was warm and cozy and we had presents to wrap. She didn't get mad but instead got quietly but visibly disappointed as if she sensed that this was the year when an important tradition of family church going might come to an end. When we realized what it meant to her we were embarrassed by our laziness and one by one we reached for our coats.
The service we attended was held in an old mission church which enclosed the interior space so intimately and with such perfection of mood that the experience was magical. The priest was old and completely sincere, and the ceremony...which minimized instruction...really did adhere to Christ's simple admonition to "Do this in remembrance of me." But that's not the most amazing thing.
The service was so beguiling that I found myself lulled into a kind of half sleep where I dreamed while awake. In that state I found my head filling with memories of unexpected good things people did for me over the years. Some were done by people who had it in their power to do me tremendous harm, and yet they refrained, and even helped me. I felt protected beyond what I deserved. I tried to balance this out by remembering some irredeemably bad events but my mind refused to entertain them.
Just as odd, when we left the church for the parking lot the flashes of memory continued. They continued the next morning, too; one after the other.