Here’s the song reference.
Yesterday evening, we attended Mass as a family, including Deedaw. This is an extraordinarily rare occurrence, as Mr. Man and Baby Guy have a history of outrageously unacceptable conduct at church; we generally split up, with Manie attending the Saturday vigil Mass with Deedaw at her parish, and Beanie attending the early Sunday Mass with me at our parish. It usually works out well for all concerned. However, we had an unexpectedly uneventful morning Mass, with the entire tribe, on Thursday, which was the Solemnity of the Assumption, so we figured we would chance it.
There was a reason for our burning desire to attend Saturday vigil Mass en famille; our wonderful priest was accorded the title of Pastor, as opposed to Parochial Administrator, which gives our parish actual parish status, as opposed to a mission (let’s see if this works, in other words) church. After ten long years, we are finally starting to build the physical building for our church, which currently meets in a converted motorcycle dealership. This is progress, since we started out meeting in one of the chapels in a local funeral home, and progressed from there to a converted gym, thence to our current digs. We love our parish; it’s a huge extended family, and even if we don’t know everyone’s name, it is a loving and welcoming house of God, and we wanted to be there for this much-anticipated celebration.
By and large, Bugaboo and Beanie, with Deedaw between them as a buffer, did well following a Mass that had a little more speechifying than usual involved, although I did have to warn Beanie a couple of times that swinging from the back of the pews is not considered acceptable participation in the celebration of the Mass. Mr. Man and Baby Guy managed an entire Mass in a pew, which is a first, helped along by many, many, MANY whispered readings of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See and The Wheels on the Bus. You have not lived until you have tried to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” and the responsorial psalm simultaneously – and get the rights words at the right volume for each.
Following Mass, there was a parish taco party in the multi-purpose room, and we decided to chance attending that with the tribe and Deedaw. Before the party started, there was a presentation to our newly-minted pastor by the Knights of Columbus (Father is now a fourth-degree Knight), the unveiling of the plans for what will be an absolutely beautiful new church building, and Grace before the meal. We managed to pacify our increasingly restless passel of pipsqueaks with tortilla chips (it was a taco party, after all) and juice boxes, and then balanced enough food on paper plates to feed our entire entourage. The small people each managed to demolish a plate of tacos and side dishes lovingly prepared by the parish ladies, and then Baby Guy noticed the enormous cake on the table against the wall.
“I see happy you you CAAAAAAKE!”
Luckily, I was able to snag a couple of slices before Baby Guy made his winsome way to the table, and, walking backwards, held his attention by continually calling his attention to the contents of the plates in my hands. Making eye contact with a gentleman who was watching our progress with an enormous grin, I smilingly remarked, “Look, baby bait!”
After we’d all enjoyed food, fellowship, and a rather yummy cake, Deedaw decided it was time for her to depart, so she wouldn’t be driving after dark. We started rounding up Baby Guy’s collection of toy cars that accompany him whithersoever he goes, and collecting the kids at one table so we could make good our escape, as well. Since Manie seemed to have the tribe well in hand, I thought it safe to go over to the buffet table to retrieve our dishes (if you’d like an interesting and well-received church supper recipe, I’ll share my confetti peppers and tomato salad one with you), and indulge in a few moments of conversation with a friend I don’t see often these days.
When I returned to the table where we’d gathered, Manie and the tribe were nowhere to be seen. Figuring he had taken the entire tribe to the bathroom, I started packing our dishes and gear into the big bag we’d brought. Suddenly, the lights went out. I heard a lady at a nearby table shushing her children, with the admonition that Father must have something to say. Moments later, my crimson-faced husband returned, with the entire tribe in tow, and brusquely informed me that it was time for us to Leave. Right. Now.
Manie is not normally abrupt, so I assumed one or more members of the tribe had become so unruly that he had had to remove the lot of them to the vestibule, and was attempting to herd them all out to the van before any further follies could unfold. He brushed aside my protestations that it appeared Father might have some additional wisdom or words to impart, and he assured me that this was not the case. As soon as we had cleared the back door of the multi-purpose room, he turned to Beanie and furiously inquired, “What on earth made you think it was a good idea to turn the lights off on everyone?”
Apparently, at least according to Bugaboo’s version of events, Mr. Man and Baby Guy had been gazing longingly at the master light switch for the room, located a tantalizing fraction of an inch out of their reach on the wall. Beanie, of course, is that fraction of an inch taller than Mr. Man, and, wanting to make her very sad little brothers happy, flipped the switch that plunged the parishioners into darkness. Beanie tearfully apologized, while Mr. Man and Baby Guy cheerfully chortled, “Beanie reach da lights! Beanie turned them ALL OFF! Spooky dark was fun! Why the lights not come back on, Mommy?”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for little blessings who are learning how to express their joy at being in Your house respectfully, and who love to sing Your praises. Thank You especially for Mr. Man’s tremulous warbling of the refrain of “On Eagle’s Wings,” a song he’s heard far too many times on less joyful occasions. Thank You for blessing our family with a happier memory of a song that had become painful for many of us to hear.
Lord, please help us teach Your blessings that sometimes, doing the right and loving thing for people doesn’t mean gratifying their immediate desires. Thank You for the opportunity to teach them this with an event in which no lasting harm was done, except, perhaps, to what might just be excessive parental pride. Help us remember to respond to Your blessings’ errors proportionally, and to always offer correction in love instead of anger.
And thank You, Lord, for the good shepherd You sent for our parish.
Postscript: Friends, please click on the words “good shepherd” in the last line of today’s prayer. It will take you to our pastor’s website, where he posts his daily homilies. If you are ever in need of a word of love and wisdom, click on any one of them at random, and you will be reminded of the love Christ bears for us.