A Long Way to Walk

Yesterday I was riding with my new friend Levi-the-Uber-Driver to Best Buy to see if the Geek Squad can figure out why my three-month old laptop computer won’t turn on. Two things in the previous sentence hint that yesterday was not a super day. Uber driver and Geek Squad.

Yep. My computer is wonky and my car has a flat tire. Cool. A bifecta!

But, I reminded myself, no matter how crabby it made me, my life was easier than the life of the man that they had to wheel out of the church to a waiting ambulance.

It’s all in your perspective, my friends.

There is a family that goes to 9 o’clock Mass every Sunday at our AZ church. I have mentioned them before because I find them fascinating. Distractingly fascinating, in fact. So distractingly fascinating that after Mass, I told Bill I was going to change my weekly seating area choice. (Catholics always sit in the same seats at Mass. It’s as if God has a seating chart just like kindergarten teachers.)

What I find interesting about the family is its sheer numbers. And what diligent churchgoers they are. I’ve never spoken a word to a single member of this family, but this doesn’t stop me from being certain I have them figured out. There is a patriarch and a matriarch, three daughters, two sons-in-law, numerous grandkids. And then there are the families of the sons-in-law who also join them in their pews.

All in all, there are over 20, and they take up two pews. A few come early and stand sentry to make sure no one tries to infiltrate. Ask my sister Jen. She made the mistake of trying to sit in what looked to her like an available seat and got shot down cold. Those seats are taken, they explained firmly. Like in the old days when people paid lots of money to have family boxes.

Recently new people have joined their group— a single mother of four extraordinarily naughty children. She wears no wedding ring so I believe her husband to be in heaven. You know, heaven — where his four kids might never be if they don’t straighten up and stop giving their young mother such a hard time. Perhaps her four disobedient children are why she wears no wedding ring, but I’m sticking to my dad-in-heaven scenario. In my scenario, her husband was related in some way to this family and died tragically, leaving a young mother with four rambunctious boys.

My brother often says don’t judge another until you’ve walked a mile in their moccasins. Despite the fact that I don’t think he owns moccasins, his point is well taken. So I tried very hard to not judge the children ‘s actions or the mother’s reaction to their misbehavior. Instead, I concentrated on praying for her, asking God to give her strength, grace, and wisdom. I might have let out a teeny tiny gasp when her youngest, a boy of about 5 or 6, pummeled her with his fist.

At breakfast following church, Bill and I discussed the children’s behavior and the mother’s reaction. She tried her darndest to keep them under control, but in doing so, she got nothing out of the Mass. Bill thought she should have stayed home, but I don’t like that idea. While I’m not much of a fan out of a Cry Room, perhaps that is a wise choice in this case.

At any rate, I am happy to not be walking a mile in her moccasins, and will continue to pray for her during my Lenten journey.

And sit elsewhere.


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