I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get angry with my husband. There are triggers that will just send me over the roof in no seconds flat and I become quiet and I don’t feel like myself, at least not the self I want to be. I come from a family of yellers, but I close into myself and get quiet. Both my children and my husband know that if I all of a sudden shut down there is something wrong.
And so, it was a Sunday evening and we had one more opportunity to get to Mass (the beloved last chance Mass). We had been out of town, up and on the road early, and were exhausted, but we arrived home in time to get to the 6 pm Mass. I was so happy that we made it, but frustrated that we would be a few minutes late. Being late is one of my triggers! Well, not only were we late, but the Church had just changed their Sunday evening Mass time to 5 pm (because of daylight savings time) and we had missed Mass. Michael felt it in his bones that the silent treatment was coming – and he was right. It’s not that I want to be silent, but it has become a natural reaction from years of not wishing to bring the yelling that I was brought up with into my family. In any case, Michael bravely asked if I wanted to try to see if another church was having Mass at 6. We got on our phones, clicked the masstimes.org app and found that a nearby church had a 6 pm Mass. We were going to be at least 15 minutes late, but we would get to Mass. Was I happy? Not in the least! Now I could go to Mass, but the privilege of receiving the Eucharist was out of my grasp. The quiet even got quieter.
We pulled up into the crowded parking lot and we walked quietly into Mass. We dipped our fingers into the Holy Water fonts (such a peaceful and welcoming feeling for me) and signed ourselves with the sign of the cross. Father was just finishing his homily, to which Hubby said “See you can still go to communion.” I just shook my head and resigned myself to sitting with my arms crossed and pretending, for all those sitting around me, that I was peaceful and happy to be there. I am not sure who I thought I was fooling; I wasn’t fooling my hubby and I was certainly not fooling God.
As time for communion approached I sat and tapped my foot, rolled my eyes, and huffed and puffed because I knew that my hubby would be getting up to receive and that I would sit in my seat and be denied (I would be denying myself) the Body of Christ. The usher made his way down the aisle to our pew and my hubby joined the crowd as I sat put. I knew he would come back, fold my hand into his, and kneel to pray. Well, my hands would stay right where they were and he could pray alone. (Yes, I know. I was being a big baby. I can be like a train on the tracks chugging down the rails gaining speed, needing lots of space to be able to stop.) I sat and watched him as he followed the person in front of him, watched him perch his hands to be ready, and then watched as he took Jesus into himself. I just put my head down, feeling sorry for myself and being frustrated at being frustrated. Just a few more minutes and we could leave. Just a few more minutes…
Michael made his way around the back of the church so that he didn’t have to climb over people to get back to his seat. I waited, with my eyes closed, for that familiar feeling of having him next to me. A glare was certain to follow as I opened my eyes to look at him. But, when I opened my eyes I was struck with the thought “You are not yourself right now.” The man sitting next to me was no longer the husband that I was frustrated with a few minutes earlier. This man was now in full communion with Jesus Christ, a tabernacle who contained our loving God. He was a living and loving miracle and I wanted to be as close to him as I could be. My heart and frustrations melted and I could see him as I had never really seen him before. My husband was not himself just then. He was one with Christ and I was now looking at the face of Jesus. I just wanted to cry. I just wanted to ask for forgiveness, not only of my husband, but of Jesus as well. I had often spoken of “all of the little tabernacles rushing out of Mass to see who could get out of the parking lot first”, but I don’t think I had ever really looked at the transformed people who carried Christ physically within them. I saw my husband as transformed and I loved him more in that moment, I was sorrier in that moment, than I had EVER been before. I had been transformed by Christ in him. That Mass that I thought would be a bust and a waste of time turned out to be a redeeming and healing time for me. I am forever grateful and humbled by how God opened my eyes that day and that I got to see that my husband was “Just not himself” in the best way possible. We just never know how God will reveal Himself to us, especially when we least expect it.