Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Pearls before swine

This weekend my niece Emily made her first Holy Communion. During the part of the mass where the priest asks us to shake hands and wish each other peace, I turned to the woman behind me and put my hand out. She recoiled and brushed me off. I stretched my hand out further toward her and offered a "Peace be with you," even louder. She stepped back and shook her head as if I were dangling a live snake in front of her.

Was it the peace she was rejecting? My hand? Or was she protecting herself from the ravages of Swine Flu? One thing is for certain, it wasn't very neighborly of her.

It's kind of a buzz kill to be rejected in church, even if you are a fallen Catholic. I turned back around and sat down feeling dismissed.

As the mass was winding down I distracted myself by watching the young boy in front of me trying to keep himself occupied without causing any trouble. He squirmed around in his seat, stood on the kneeling thing, and rolled around on the floor. He finally turned around to look at me.

I smiled. He smiled back and then out of the blue he held his small smooth hand out to me. "Peace be with you," he whispered.

"Shhhh," his father said as we shook hands. He looked back at me and we both laughed.

When the service was over we gathered our things and the little boy and I made eye contact and waved. The woman who repelled me stood alone with her arms crossed tightly across her chest. She may have kept herself from getting the flu but she missed out on the most healing thing on earth...human contact.

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