Church this morning was a blessing. That's not something I've felt for a while, but today I was glad to be there even with the squirrely kids.
Noon Mass is for the strong. India is heading full-force into summer and the Cathedral is not air-conditioned. High noon, full church, ugh. But it's Palm Sunday. And while we didn't get to participate in the Passion (the priest did a straight reading), the service was moving, with the same musical group from Christmas Mass. The 9:30 a.m. first Sunday Mass features the St. Bede's boys pounding out pop Christian hits in bad unison. For us it's not a pleasant ritual, so waiting to noon and listening to the strains of a string quartet and voices in harmony brought out a sense of belonging for me. Yes, it was a blessing.
My dad is in the hospital right now. Friday morning he had triple bypass surgery. It's one of the times when I wonder what the heck I'm doing in India. But in India I am, and from here the best I can do for my dad and my mom is to let them know they are in my thoughts and prayers, and then actually pray. Praying isn't an easy thing for me to do beyond the general "Thanks for everything, oh and please keep an eye on us." Praying for something truly meaningful takes real effort, and today's Mass was such to give me a push in the right direction.
Listening to an acapella "God So Loved the World" while folding palm frond crosses for my kids, I thought of my dad who adds such beauty to Masses year after year leading choirs in this soul-touching piece. I thought of him in a hospital this year, missing Palm Sunday service, knowing that the Mass would miss his musicianship and unspoken yet projected spirituality. I thought of my mom attending an early service, apart from the usual hustle and bustle of choir rehearsals and pomp of High Mass, in order to arrive at the hospital for the opening of visiting hours.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that who so believeth, believeth in Him, should not perish, should not perish but have everlasting life.
Today I prayed from my heart. I prayed for my dad to continue recovering. I prayed for my mom to stay strong and remember to eat something along the way. I prayed for my kids that they appreciate how special their grandparents are. I prayed for Ian and myself too. I still don't know quite how to fix our relationship with God, but I know He can help and that He knows what we lack and more importantly how to fix it. I'll do what I can for me and my family, but I leave the rest to Him.
And I'll keep praying for my dad to get healthier and stronger with each passing day. We love him. And we need him.