Thursday, January 21, 2021

I've Got Joy in the Palm of My Hand (Day 21)

One year, when family gatherings were still permitted, I was in Ohio visiting my husband's large extended family.  Mike's uncle gathered us for grace before the meal, all of us holding hands,* and a family member offered the prayer.

It all started out as one would expect--thanks for us all being there, thanks for the meal, thanks for Christmas, etc. But, then it took a turn from gratitude to a different sort of grief prayer. It had been a heavy year--family members who had passed, sorrow at the empty places, perhaps some strife in the world**

I am not in anyway trying to trivialize grief. But, for someone like me, falling into any grief becomes like quick sand. I find it impossible to not mentally add my list of grief to the list being presented. I began tallying my sorrows, as the grace went on, I felt myself in danger of completely losing it. So I changed my prayer from gratitude to a plea of my own:

Please Lord Jesus, do not let me sob out loud and please, let's get this show on the road. 

The grace was long. And I do recall having sufficient time to pray my own personal prayer several dozen times. And then, out of the blue, as I gulped down a sob, Nicholas, who was just a little guy, farted. 

It was not a quiet little toot, but a rip roaring rumble--which caused my girls to laugh (their other cousins were raised with dignity and manners and did not laugh. They are Catholic). 

That fart, was, indeed an answer to my prayer. I was able to pick myself up out of the quick sand of grief and get on with the joy of being with family. 

Look, I know this is ridiculous, but I am a firm believer in three truths:

1. Prayer is personal.  

2. God meets you where you are. 

3. And I am always, through joy and sorrow, in a place where I need a good laugh. 

So in these global pandemic, treason season, chaotic days, I often find myself praying that exact same prayer:

Please Lord Jesus, do not let me sob out loud and please, let's get this show on the road. 

And my friends, this week, after a weekend in the ER, an evening with a mysterious midnight door knocker,*** the dread of cataract surgery round 2 next week, my children fighting/refusing to do homework/staying up all night and just being stressed out of my mind, I needed a laugh--I needed that silly moment when a kid farts during a very serious prayer.

And friends, that fart came in the form of Bernie Sanders and his mittens--a little spot of joy, right in the palm of my hand:****


There isn't anywhere Bernie is not welcome--and there is not one person I've met that does not love a good Bernie meme. As, they say, God works in mysterious ways. 

*Reminder, this was before COVID and hand holding with those outside your household was like a regular thing. 

**Since this was before 2020, I don't think the world strife was serious. But I have no recollection. 

*** It's a long story. 

**** And in my family portrait. 

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