Planes, Trains and Automobiles"The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks."
G. K. Chesterton
I try not to attach too many expectations to holidays, because honestly we've reached a stage in our lives when things--and people--are in constant flux.
Carrie decided she couldn't justify spending four hours on the road today for a two-hour Easter brunch at her Aunt Mary's, and I understood. Really, I did. It's just that I haven't spent a single Easter in twenty-three years apart from her, that's all.
Scott and Brooke attended their own church this morning, and I knew I would see them afterwards, but it still felt a little lonely. Kev stood with me during worship, though, and I always look forward to singing beside my grown-man-of-a-son. And Doug--after he finished playing guitar and Irish whistles with the band--would be joining us for the message.
I sat on the aisle seat with Kevin next to me, and my purse served to save a third seat for Doug. I should have known that today, though, would be standing room only, and that sooner or later the pastor would say those fateful words that wreak panic in the heart of all anxiety-ridden aisle-sitters like me: "If everyone on the aisles would please move to the middle to make room for our visitors, that would be great."
(What's wrong with this announcement? Don't pastors know--after any time at all counseling folks--that there's a reason why certain members arrive so punctually every week and sit in the aisle seats? Hello!)
Kevin scooted down and I followed obediently, my knees already shaking a bit. "Hey, Mom," he whispered, "did you bring a lunch bag with you?" He knows about my pesky predilection for hyperventilation when I'm feeling closed in, and winked as he gently teased me.
Keep breathing, Katy. Just keep breathing.
A family of four blocked me in, a family I'd never seen before, and you'll never believe who sat down right next to me. Steve Martin! He flashed his pearly whites at me and his eyes twinkled with either amusement or apprehension--sometimes with Steve it's hard to tell. His white hair gleamed even more attractively than it does in the movies, set off handsomely by his navy blue blazer and tan dress pants.
Immediately, the source of my anxiety shifted from being sausaged into a long row of people with no inconspicuous escape route to being very concerned about what exactly Steve Martin would think of our church.
Doug came to sit with us and I explained to him (within earshot of the visitors) that I'd given up his seat for Steve (who for some strange reason introduced himself to us as "Mike"), his glamorous blonde wife, and the kids. Doug said, "Oh, don't worry, I need to be available for the songs at the end of the service anyway. Don't worry at all."
So he left me there alone with Kevin on one side (laughing at me) and Steve on the other, who knew darned good and well that I didn't for one minute believe he was some guy named Mike.
I started thinking about planes, trains, and automobiles. And how Steve Martin wanted nothing more and nothing else than to make his way home for the holiday. He found himself here, at our church, a bit bewildered perhaps, but here--with the family he loved and some crazy chick who probably imagines he's someone he's not.
Did he start to wonder if all churches are alike? And if even God Almighty might have him confused with someone else?
I spent an entire Easter service wondering if I was just another John Candy, just another character thrown in this man's path to prevent him from truly, finally arriving at the home he missed, the home he'd nearly forgotten.
Or if somehow I'd find the grace to see past his movie-star looks and welcome him--whoever he was--to his Father's house.
Posted by Katy on 03/27/05 at 02:39 PMFallible Comments...
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