Each week as I ready for blog writing, I let my topic come to me as I go through my every day activities. Not knowing until I was in church this morning, sitting, listening to the homily, I had to look down for my eyes were whelming with grateful tears as I remember my first church visit four months after our collision. Yes, this is what I should share today as the holiday season is among us, as we sit, look back at all we are grateful for and bask in all that we are given. At the suggestion of a wonderful high school classmate of mine, I want to bring up how each one of us can be someone's angel, right here on this earth we live on.
Easter was late that year, April 24th. Our priest suggested that I wait to come to church until my pain lessened and I became more mobile. Unable to drive or attend many of my families activities, unable to stand being cooped up any longer, I asked my husband to take me to mass. Rolling me into church, I could feel warm eyes on me, although welcome, I felt small in that wheelchair, stripped of my independence. Dragging my bottom from the chair to the hard, wood bench, I cringed. I had forgotten to bring a seat cushion. Weighing around 110 lbs, there was not much padding for my sore tailbone that I had been sitting on, without relent, for many months. One of our daughters finally gave me their coat to ease my discomfort and stop the grinding sound that came from my constant fidgeting.
With that taken care of my ankles started talking to me, before long they were barking and by communion, howling. Since they are elevated most of the day to relieve the pressure of my injuries, an hour of hanging down has caused deep aches and a pounding each time my heart beat. We all know that Easter mass is a tad longer than a normal Sunday devotion. Admitting silently that this was not one of my best ideas, communion commenced, meaning we were close to ending.
I sat on the right side of church, in the front row, at the end of the pew, farthest from the aisle. I had not heard or absorbed a single word of mass since entering the church. Concentrating solely on increasing my comfort and berating myself for being impatient with my progress, I had lost the purpose of even attending with my family.
Keeping my head down as parishioners received the Eucharist, I felt the first soft touch on my right shoulder. Gently smiling, I
covered this man's hand and nodded thank you. Lacing my fingers together, I laid my clasped hands in my lap as another hand gingerly touched my shoulder as they passed by me, another patting, another squeezing, another caressing, another and another and another.
Each one of these wonderful angels spoke volumes to me as they moved past. No words, just touch. Soft, compassionate, reassuring shoulder embraces. This was not sorrow or pity from what had happened to me. This was normal people being sent as angels to comfort. One hot tear fell from the corner of my right eye and then one more. As more parishioners moved past me, more tears fell. I could not lift my eyes for fear of completely collapsing emotionally. So many hands that I could not count touched my heart.
With nothing to wipe my eyes, I sat there, slightly bent, watching the tears fall from the contours of my face to the fabric of my pants as the line moved forward. My face was hot from the cascade of emotion sliding down my cheeks. Silent sobs racked my chest in even increments as I earnestly kept them from escaping. Unable to hide what was transpiring within me, my soaked eyelashes laid on my cheeks for the remainder of the hour.
Incapable of succeeding exclusively on my own, I accepted the help of others for the first time that I can cite. Beholden with gratitude at what God asked these individuals to do that day and their willingness to accept has been the foundation of my successful rehabilitation. Never knowing when we will be called upon, we should live gratefully and selflessly all year long instead of growing a soft heart only near the holidays or when tragedy beats on our door. It did not matter that I heard no words recited from scripture this day, He said everything I needed to hear transmitted through your touch.
But I see angels every day and they look just like you.