I'm vacating this week this week – taking a staycation (or cottage days). Jennifer Johnson, from First Church, shared this story with me last month, then graciously gave me permission to include it in this blog as a vacation post. Thank you, Jen!
My curly hair boy and I deliver communion for people who are not able to come to church. We have an elderly woman with whom we meet. She lives in a memory care facility with her cat. Pearl (not her real name) always remembers us—especially my son. They have such a sweet friendship. The facility where she lives also has a cat that lives on the premises and he often visits Pearl and her kitty. It was a sunny afternoon that we found Pearl sitting in her chair, with the building kitty snuggled down in her lap sleeping. Her own cat sleeping soundly on her bed. In her small room we pulled chairs around her. The sun was shining through the window as we all sat close together.
The communion kit was all ready for us. Bread and grape juice that had been blessed by our minister the previous Sunday. A small communion reading and a prayer written out on a card. My son was eager to lead in the communion and with Pearl’s permission he began. I could see the seriousness on his face as he read what was written on the card. Stumbling over some words he didn’t recognize as I helped him out. Pearl patiently waited and smiled at him in a way that encouraged him to continue. He then served us the bread and juice and I served him. Afterward, we prayed together and then sang some Country Western songs. The kitty on her lap sleeping through it all.
In those moments, our chairs smashed in the small area around Pearl, with sleeping kitties, and a 10-year-old curly hair boy so seriously reading the card and serving us the elements I felt such a deep connection with our Creator. We were there caring for her by providing communion and friendship. She was there caring for us by patiently listening to my son read and encouraging him with her smile. Helping him to grow in his faith and understanding of connectedness. Helping me as well. I grew up believing that God is Love. That Jesus is the great teacher of this love. In that sunny room, draped with sleeping kitties, in that small circle that we formed, listening to the curly hair boy reading the words of our faith, Love was indeed present. We were indeed in communion with the Almighty.
I think about ways that God is in communion with us as we go about life. If I have enough mindfulness as I go through the day, I find Him in many places. My husband, son and I recently went to a Willie Nelson concert. There were various other bands before him and it was going to be a great show. I looked around the packed auditorium and marveled at all the different people there. Young people and elderly. People with all types of beliefs, ideas, and hopes. And then the music started. A whole group of strangers connected through music. There wasn’t any negativity. People were not fighting. Singing and joy could be heard. And I thought about how God is present in such a moment. Teaching us through the music of the artists. Showing us how we are more alike than different. Even with our differences there are things we agree on. We have common ground.
And then I look around and God can be found everywhere and in communion with us. In the budding tree of spring time. In the old dog happily groaning in his sleep. In the sink full of dirty dishes. In sadness and tears that are shed and the fight for justice. In the sing-song voice of a boy calling me “mom”. In the echo of voices that will never be heard again. And at the beginning of a new day with birds singing their ancient songs. As Mies van de Rohe says, “God is in the details”. Albert Einstein says “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”. God is in the miracle of the ordinary. He is the Love in the room that communes us together.