It happens. Wordless sermons like Dean Robert moving his garden chair this morning to accommodate Clemmie, the pig. She’d plopped down for a tummy scratch, but just out of reach. So the Dean of the Canterbury Cathedral put down his readings and notes for Morning Prayers and moved closer to touch Clemmie, adding, “It would be cruel not to.” And God must’ve smiled. It preached.
In a world, too mean-spirited and me-first for our own good or the rest of creation, this act of kindness touched me and my friend, Martha. It wasn’t the first time, I’ve learned from Dean Robert’s respect and appreciation for creatures from hedgehogs to thistles. Everything, each one matters.
Well, last Friday my eleven year old Prius and I had an appointment for our annual inspection and tune-up. I say “our” because we’ve bonded over the years. So, while waiting, I read for awhile, then worked a crossword puzzle. The longer I waited, the more I imagined they’d try to sell me a new car. I wasn’t buying. Besides, I’ve heard new, old and rentals are in short supply, as well as Pampers. They’re on one of those container ships in a watery queue.
After a couple of hours, a service representative (all wore jackets and titles), came into the area. Four of us sat awaiting news or next steps. He was chatty, Irish and seemed eager to talk about anything but cars, then zeroed in on my puzzle. He began telling a story about his Irish mother who loved working puzzles. She’s in assisted living, nearby. “She’s in her eighties and it helps her not lose her mind, if you know what I mean.” Then, he looked at me, as did the other three much younger folks who waited with me in this holding pen. I imagine this was group therapy for me to keep at it.
Well, to encourage them, I said, “I agree. Just the other day I read this testimonial. It may have been in AARP.”
“I don’t mean to brag, but I did this puzzle in one day. On the box it said, ‘2 to 4 years.’ ”
After a split-second, the room erupted with laughter. Like everyone was desperate for something funny, even one of my jokes, which I’m not known for. When I tell a joke in my family, they roll their eyes before I get to the punchline, if I remember it. Well, I had more in my repertoire but decided to save it. I have to come back Thursday to replace the heat shield. I left part of on a curb outside Henry’s market. They must’ve raised it between visits.
Actually, I look forward to Thursday. You never know who you’ll meet while waiting. We’re not all as obvious as Clemmie with our needs, nor as responsive as Dean Robert. But remembering how that service rep, wiped his eyes from laughing, I thought, “Maybe laughter preaches and moves our chairs just enough to touch someone.”
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