Sunday, April 17, 2011
I wish you could see her. She wanders around the church during Mass, up and down the sides of the church, carrying her plastic bags. She always wears a grubby stocking hat pulled low over her ears, obscuring most of her scraggly, dirty gray hair. She peers around her through very thick, oily glasses, which are not big enough to obscure her eyebrows, darkened with black eyeliner by a very inexpert and lavish hand. She smiles at people as she wanders, showing a mouthful of decaying, crooked, unbrushed teeth. If she stops you after Mass to talk, you very quickly affirm you suspicion that she is crazy as a bat. Not very lovely. And yet, she did something this morning that made me weep. I could not stop crying, and made a pretty hurried exit because I had tears streaming down my face. You see, I realized that Geraldine gets something that I do not. She has something that I, with my happy family, sound mind, and wonderful life, sorely lack. On the outside, she is ugly, but her actions this morning made her the most beautiful person I saw at Mass this morning. Here is what happened. We had just gone forward to receive communion, and the very last person in the church had just received and the priest was turning around to go back to the altar. One person was still handing out communion to the last person in line. All of a sudden, I hear the frantic footsteps, the rustling of plastic bags, and a worried muttering. As I watched, Geraldine broke in to a run, desperate to get to the front and receive while she still could. She wanted Jesus. Was running, all crazy and frantic, to receive him. She, poor befuddled Geraldine, understands that only God can satisfy, that if we do not have him we will surely wither our souls and not know love. She wanted God in a way I never have. Rushing forward to receive him, anxious that she will miss him, a clear thought in her mind, a longing. She has something I have not. The realization made me weep.