Here With Us

Last week I met with our new assistant principal to discuss my performance after a classroom observation earlier in the week.  He's a monastic, one of the most joy-filled people I've ever conversed with, and I liked him immediately.  Our meeting had been postponed several times, however, and by the time it came around I was grumpy, hungry and eager to get home.

We sat down.  "Shall we pray?" he asked.  I felt a little like my aunt Connie, who famously grumbled at bedtime, "Do we HAFTA pray?!"  But of course I chirped, "Sure!"

He bowed his head, and I followed suit.  "Lord, You have told us that when two or three are gathered in Your name, You are there also."

Then he paused for a long beat.  I have always admired Catholics for being so comfortable in silence; in Orthodoxy, we panic if there's any downtime between the clergy and choir responses, but in the Catholic Mass, there are long stretches of silence, and that's okay.  In fact, it's lovely.

"So we know," he continued, "That You are here with us."

Suddenly, I felt a lump rise in my throat.  Here?  With us?  With me, in all my wretched self-involvement and preoccupation?  Why on earth, Lord, would you be here with US?

But, of course, He is.  And that changes everything.