Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Sound of One Fat Man Praying

This could also be subtitled, "Why I'll Probably Never Be a Saint...."

Moleskine cahier scribble

On Wednesday mornings from six to seven, I have Eucharistic Adoration. Six to seven. AM. What this means is that every Tuesday night, I set my alarm clock for five o'clock, and every Wednesday morning I wake up at five and spend at least five or ten minutes arguing with myself about actually getting up in time to be at the church at six. Maybe next week I could tell the man who shares the commitment with me that I accidentally slept through my alarm, or didn’t realize it was Wednesday. Or I tell myself I have a headache--just a little one, but if I get up now, it’s gonna get worrrrse, really it will. But eventually I stumble out of bed, trip over the dog (who is WIDE AWAKE and SO EXCITED because he's going to have the same DOG FOOD(!!!!!) he had the night before extra EARLY today!!!!!), wade through the cats, take a shower, and race out the door knowing I’m going to just barely get there in time if I do get there in time at all, and resolving to do better next week. See subtitle above.

It’s actually surprisingly busy there most Wednesday mornings. The parish men’s group meets at six-thirty, which allows even those with busy work schedules to make it at least some of the time. Not only do they get a good sized crowd, but quite a number of the men come early to stop by the adoration chapel before the meeting. It’s inspiring to me how many come as much as an hour or so early just to spend time in prayer early in the morning. It can also be a little distracting, lots of people coming and going, at an hour when I’m still getting it together.

So this morning, I had just run in (literally, late as usual), signed my name on the list for the six to seven o’clock hour, and had been kneeling there for maybe five minutes, when a man I hadn’t seen before came in and went up to kneel on one of the kneelers at the very front. He was middle aged, paunchy and balding, but very well dressed in a nice suit, and carrying a nice hat (hats are a wonderful, wonderful manly accessory, incidentally...but I’ll save that subject for another time). Perhaps because of the nice suit and a general air of authority, his portliness seemed more distinguished than anything else. And a line popped into my head, “You can forgive a fat man a lot for the sake of a good suit.”

It means nothing. It’s not a very good line. And it's probably not very kind. But at six-ten this morning, it was all-important. I desperately wanted it saved for posterity. I had dreams of writing a story around it. I wanted to shout it to the world, post it on facebook and Twitter, even though I don’t even have a Twitter account. It could not be lost! But, with my early morning not-on-coffee brain flickering from thought to thought like a radio on scan, I knew I couldn’t hold on to it unless I stopped with the rosary and recited that sentence over and over instead. (See subtitle above). This obviously wouldn’t do. I sat there fidgeting for a long, long moment, trying to tell myself I could remember this one short crucial sentence without thinking about it constantly for the next fifty minutes, and then I finally gave up and took a pocket notebook and pencil from my purse.

As I might have mentioned a time or two, I’m completely paranoid about writing in public. Writing by hand helps because most can’t read someone else’s handwriting instantly, so reading over someone’s shoulder tends to be more difficult. But even so, I admit as I was writing that sentence, I had my hand sort of cupped over one side of the page, so “You can forgive” and “for the sake of” were visible, but the “fat man” and “good suit” were hidden. Because those first bits almost seem suitable for writing in a chapel. I am...a hypocrite.

At least I could move on once it was written down. Eventually. I dove into some St. Francis de Sales, who is, as Speegle mentioned recently, the patron saint of writers. Hmmm...I wonder if he ever suffered the same sorts of distractions?

Maybe there’s hope for me yet?


Adwoa said...

Great story. Glad you were able to write down the line after all. Sounds like it would make a good ending... but to which story? Should be fun figuring it out :)

mpclemens said...

Consider that your very-busy day gave you that moment of relief and peace so that your creative side could bubble up. And savoring a moment of joy in a chapel is hardly hypocritical.

Validation: hypersee

Like the Holy See, but faster.

Little Flower Petals said...

Oh, I don't think the writing stuff down was hypocritical, but the shielding the goofier half so I seemed to be writing something profound might be. ;) But mostly, I just need to get over being so self-conscious. Considering I actually dared to use a mechanical pencil that *clicked*, I'm getting better, I think. Slowly. Baby steps, here.