Things Are Different.

Things are different. The campus, once alive with laughter of people coming and going, visitors popping in unannounced or bearing an appointment or holding an agenda, the children filling our halls with both screams of need and joy-filled laughter, the parents saying a quick hello as they dart out to work, the meetings and the telephone calls, the to-do lists that never seem to get done, the sounds of traffic on our Upper Road, and lawn mowers and such, it’s all gone. It’s quiet now. Too quiet.

I sit alone in my office, working and praying and thinking, and there is none of that before sometimes aggravating ‘office noise’ or chit chats happening between staff in the background. Now, I can tell you the regularity of the heat coming on, and the wind outside my windows, and even the beating of my heart. Today I sat at my desk when the intercom suddenly came alive! I leapt from my chair to find a parishioner with a gift for me at the door. She visited at arms-length and turned to leave but telling me – reassuring me – how much Saint Miriam means to her, then she left. She cried as she walked away. I came inside my office and wept. I am lonely. My heart aches. My depression is on the verge of returning. Yes, things are different.

I miss the silence of this church before anyone has arrived on an early Sunday morning.

I miss the sounds of children and their families arriving for school.

I miss the handshakes, the excitement of meeting a newcomer, and the embrace of those who call this place ‘home’ with regularity.

I miss the eyes that seek me at the altar, the prayers of the old, the Rosary beads clicking between fingers, and those questions from our youngest.

I miss the rhythm of this place, the organ as it fills with air, the sound of Charlie’s foot, just as he pushes the pedal of the piano, but right before any sound actually permeates the air.

I miss the ancient liturgy wrapped in ‘new wine skins’ and preaching to an audience (even if they don’t like what I am saying!)

I miss kneeling, then standing, then kneeling again! I miss the moments like last Sunday when we lost our way through the Creed and all those moments our idiosyncrasies dissolve to allow the holy Spirit to mend us; fix us; love us. Despite us, being us.

 I miss the Baptismal Water of the Font; holding the new Christian in my arms, and I miss us, together.

I have come to know that there is always goodness that comes out of our struggles, just as I also know that God is always present; always good, always in love with us, as we are of Him.

I know we will be here again, but I also know that things are different. Too different.

Please don’t give up on us. Don’t forget to struggle with us and share that struggle. Please, don’t forget to give and pray. Please don’t change your giving or we might perish. Don’t you change now, too. We will survive after this time in the tomb. We will ride triumphantly like Our Lord, but first, we need this pause, even if we don’t quite understand it.

You see, things are different, but they aren’t gone. Please help me to make sure they aren’t ever gone. That would be a quiet I couldn’t bear.


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