The Pedicure

Thursday night was one of those times I just didn’t get it.

The day started out harmless enough. I planned on working from home, stopping at noon so that I could take my Siberian husky to the park. I figured that I could finish my day early, giving myself enough time to get a pedicure.

But no plan ever survives implementation. As soon as I logged into my e-mail, there was a message from my manager: A crisis had erupted, and my presence was needed. I rushed into the office to deal with the crisis (which ended up not being so much of a crisis–see Rule #22). Needless to say, the dog did not get her walk and I did not get my pedicure.

By the time I got to Church for Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, all I wanted to do was go home and go to bed. Anxiety born of frustration and fatigue prevented me from focusing on the important symbols of my faith as they were paraded before the congregation: The baptismal robes for the adults who will be baptized at the Easter Vigil; the oils blessed by the Bishop at the Chrism Mass that Monday, the Paschal Candle–none of these things meant anything to me. I sat lifeless in the pew, and, surrounded by friends and family, I felt…alone.

The Lector approached the ambo. She stood there for a few seconds, then bowed reverently, her hands bound together in a pious clasp. In a slow, melodic voice, she proclaimed, “A reading from the Book of Exodus. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt…” I need a vacation, some place warm and sunny, away from the gray, wet spring we’ve had this year.

“Tell the whole community of Israel…” Looking around the Church, I wondered who else felt as I did, like they were just going through the motions.

“Procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household…” My stomach grumbled. I hadn’t eaten anything all day.

“It shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight…” I thought about how many unpleasant ways I could have killed my boss for calling me into work to deal with a manufactured crisis.

“That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” I could really use a Miller Lite.

And so went the rest of the Liturgy of the Word. The Word rang hollow in my head as my thoughts flailed around at the worries that tore at my concentration. The only voices I heard called out, “Run away! Run away!” Finally, the priest finished his homily and invited the parishioners who were selected to have their feet washed to come up. My wife leaned over and asked in a whisper, “You trimmed your toe nails, didn’t you?” I shook my head my as I stood up and shuffled my way towards the aisle.

And in a voice not as modest, she called out after me, “Well, are you at least wearing socks that don’t have holes in them?”

I ignored her question and the chuckles from those who sat around us.

I sat down in the front pew and took off my left shoe and holey sock. The priest knelt before me and poured warm water over my foot. He dried it with a soft cotton towel. He smiled, and moved on. I put my shoe back on and returned to my wife. I closed my eyes and I sighed. And for the first time all day, I felt at peace.

I guess I really did need that pedicure.

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