By Bill Stork, DVM
I have sat two tables away from Kristy Larson, slack-jawed and stupid as she dropped the final “I’m so lonesome I could cry”, in homage to her painfully early departed brother. I have been paralyzed as Alison Krauss stood solo, stomped, crooned and built “Down to the River to Pray,” from the Olde Town School of Folk Music stage, to the heavens. I have clenched and trembled as Susan Tedeschi growled from her diaphragm “how in the hell can a person go to work in the morning, come home in the evening, and have nothing to say.”
Though I have heard music more beautiful, I have never been so inspired as at Christmas morning Mass.
The Christmas crowd stomped snow and shuffled in. As Father Dave opened his arms wide and welcomed the flock, the holiday din faded to mute.
Silent may have been the night; morning not so much. Throughout the first and second reading, all that could be heard were pages of the missalette. But Cheerios, big plastic car keys, and “pass the baby” only last so long. By the homily, the youngest of the congregation began a choir of their own.
As gifts were prepared, kneelers dull-thudded against the carpet, and back against their pegs as we all filed down the aisle to receive communion. Against the rhythmic moan of the organ, heads down and hands crossed, we waddled toward the Altar. The murmur of “Body of Christ” and “Amen” were all that could be heard.
As the last row accepted the host, crossed themselves, and returned to their pews, the joy of the day could no longer be contained.
With a tremble in her hands she caressed the keys. With pitch not quite perfect, she projected to the heavens a heartfelt Hallelujah. Last in line to receive the host, with the gait of a soldier returning from war and his right sleeve hanging empty, Phil took his place next to the organ. He joined voice with Beth, and with a mighty silver jingle raised the traditional Christmas tambourine. With that, the congregation joined and swelled in full voice.
It is nearly a new year, a time when folks are prone to resolve. Speaking for myself, I was moved to the core by Beth and Phil. A fraction of their faculties may have fallen casualty to blood clots and corn pickers, yet their soul, faith and spirit were only amplified.
Whether January 1 or July 17, let us take whatever physical, mental and spiritual strength we can muster to be as productive, kind and benevolent as humanly possible.