We had a less than stellar appearance at Mass this week.
We got there late. We left early. We hung out in the narthex.
Half of the kids were coughing up a lung. Will was totally zoned out. He wasn’t with us at all; he was somewhere in Pokemon land. The girls kept asking for cough drops. We tried the sacristy, but no luck.
We tried to pay attention again. But then Zoe’s ear hurt. And didn’t feel better unless I held her. I was wearing boots with a heel, so I couldn’t hold her that long. So we walked around the narthex to distract her. We took a look in the lost and found drawer and at the books and fliers in our information room. We discovered that our cousin is on the poster advertising the local catholic high school. We saw that some people had blacked out teeth and eyes on the pictures of the seminarians.
Then we tried to pay attention again. But Zoe’s ear hurt again. And Vivian wanted to check again for cough drops. And Eva felt soooo tired she needed to be held too. And not even the Our Father could snap Will out of Pokemon land.
Bill looked at me, our coats and belongings scattered all over the dusty, salt covered marble floor. Eva was like a wet dishtowel, limply hanging over his shoulder. “What are we doing,” he whispered.
And he was right. We were a mess. None of us were paying attention. Two of the kids were clearly too sick to even be there.
“He’s right. We should just go already,” I thought. But instead I said. “We’re here and we’re going to get communion.”
“And then we’ll go,” he whispered, his shoulder sagging slightly under Eva’s dead weight.
And so we did. We got communion. And left right after.
But I chose not to feel guilty about it. I told God, “This is what we can give you this week.” And I offered it up. My small, flawed offering.
Maybe next week will be better. Like two weeks ago when we got there on time. And by on time I mean during the gathering song. That’s about as on time as it get for this family. And the hymn was one of my favorites, “Christ Before Me.” When I walked into our beautiful church, it was like the song and the congregation were reaching out to greet me. I felt like it was saying, “Welcome Home Anne.” It was a beautiful moment and it took my breath away. It was a great way to start mass.
And we’ll bring our family home again next Sunday.