My life tends to be all about me. My comfort. My health. My happiness. The happiness of people I love. My blog. Me me me. It feels good to step outside myself, but sometimes it is a conscious effort.
The other week, I attended a Mass led by an unfamiliar priest. I did know that he was a Jesuit so I assumed that he would at least have a good homily.
When we got to that point in the Mass, he started out by saying that he just got a call from a friend, who was at his mother’s bedside while she was dying. I looked at my sons, who never appear to be listening to these things but often ask relevant questions afterwards. They seemed to be unperturbed, so I listened while the priest continued on.
His talk was not a downer, though it covered a lot of death and specifically, death of a mother. He continued long enough that the man in front of me started visibly rolling his hand in a “wrap it up” signal, high enough for the priest to see, which made me laugh inside and a little out loud.
I learned a lot about St. Joseph being the patron saint of a good death, about the role of adult children as a parent is dying and the grace of God appearing at what can feel like the worst time in your life, but I didn’t get that soul-satifying feeling that happens when you connect with a talk. I suspect that everything in the world isn’t always a sign personally for me, though I seem to be surprised every time.
The priest eventually wrapped it up and the Mass continued on. At the end, my sons ran off to see if there were donuts today and I, knowing there were none, lagged behind. I walked past a friend who was still sitting in her pew. We said hello and she looked like she had lost her best friend.
“Are you okay?” I asked her.
“My mother died on Wednesday.”
I thought of that sermon. Crap. Was that awful for her? I hoped she was okay.
“The homily….” I started.
“That spoke right to my heart,” she said with a sense of relief. “Every word. It was exactly what I needed to hear right now. In fact, I took notes.”
It is so not always about me. Thank God.