The door opened, and I wept all the way down that #7 checkered hallway from the elevator.
The same door had just opened on the 5th floor, and my elderly, formerly dying now living! friend had gone to her apartment, smiling from our visit.
Deep in meaning, what she’d said even earlier down at the coffee shop where we had met on this day after Christmas. And it was too much when I had repeated that one word as we rode up the elevator, just the two of us with more presence there in that metal box with buttons and cables than in any packed stadium or mall.
Abundance, it is a sign of abundance, she’d said as somehow in the conversation (oh, I know, it was when I told her about the candles of light, consecrated communion, the signs or symbols of sacrament that are usually made of bread, still light). Yes, she’d nodded, when I told her how I take the bread and break it. Eat one piece, prayerfully, so full of pausing prayer. And then take the other piece and dip it in the wine before eating it, with a mouth and heart and soul and mind full of another prayer. So, it’s a large piece then, she said, and that is a sign of abundance.
oh my God . . .
A thing, marvelous wonderful worthy of reverence . . .
“How was your Christmas?” everyone is asking me.
Holy Mother of the Living God, what do I say? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times? In truth, I cannot even say that with any meaning, because it was both and more. Instead, I say it was deep with meaning. So deep. And I go to the deep again, before I come back up and we chat about it all.
I say that because of this and this and because at Imago Dei–the church of whom I am a body part–the Christmas Eve worship was glorious with the candles and everything good there, in absentia or not. After the final blessing I waltzed through the crowd to get to Reimagine, a class where I would share the first this up there. I pushed open the sturdy wooden door and at that moment snow began to fall. And immediately from and within the nearness caused by purity falling from above, church bells began to ring . . . bells from another body of believers out there, shared by all of us on this entire planet where a garden can yet grow.
And later that day and into Christmas Day, I would pray as the Pope prayed, while he came to you and to me from a flat screen, broadcast from Rome in three dimensions and into all of them, those other dimensions of space-time, that thing that bends like a strand of silk, an unconstrained continuous loop in a tapestry. And I am praying for the suffering, and for the dying and for no pain in it, and I pray for a perfected passing. The Pope and his people are calling others to the podium near the alter to offer more prayers for all people everywhere, and in languages from around the globe.
It keeps coming all Christmas Day.
And it’s coming in songs and a song, and in people and a person . . . and all through the night while I sorta slept and then woke up in prayer, more of that always. It is coming today, on the morning after.
And I need to do laundry after I have met my elderly prophet friend, and I am throwing some work clothes into the washer and I see dust from some pants as they hit the edge of the lid, and the cloud of dust is from across this city from when I had worked hard to deliver. I grab another pair of pants and, intentionally this time, throw them so that they hit the lid and maybe I can see another dust cloud and think some more. There is no dust, and I think about all of the once-in-a-lifetime moments, moments in time to which we can easily travel again and again and again, and that they happen only once but also as long as we breathe.
The laundry is all in the washers, and I am breathing into the coffee shop, again! to write, but I very badly need to pray, so I ask for “a quick door code”, to the restroom and my friends here say “1969”, and that is Mr. Lewis in 5th grade. I punch him in, very tenderly, and I pray. Oh God how I pray. You know that I do, I tell Him, and I think about that little child and boy and man who brought about all of this season that still causes the world to celebrate. And you know, he had to pray too, maybe under some trees or on them, like those three trees in a certain place I see, when I pray there at least once every week.
And, sweet Lord and your holy mother, there is so much more.
It is almost too much . . .
And those words from a song–beautiful gorgeous Music from a song–come back to me as a gift, again, on this day after Christmas: