On trying not to be the white rabbit

Vanity are all the works and quests of man, and they have no being after death has come.

“There’s still time for a Mary moment.”

Monday night, after absolutely being a raging jackass ALL day long (don’t believe me? I have phone numbers for people you can call to confirm), I walked into church and straight to confession. I did not even put my purse down.

After I confessed, I told Fr. Andrew I was still struggling with the over-business, the inability to quiet my soul and my penchant for behaving like a really grumpy Martha in this Lenten season. (see earlier post)

There’s still time, he said.

Still time.

Because I took Holy Wednesday through Bright Monday off (more time, more church), I was able to do something yesterday I have never done before.

I sang in a funeral. The choir was small, so I volunteered to pitch in and tried not to hit too many sour notes while we committed the woman’s soul to God. She died after a two-year battle with cancer and a lifelong battle with mental illness. And through it all, she loved God.

In the text of the funeral hymns, there is this gem. “Vanity are all the works and quests of man, and they have no being after death has come.”

I don’t know, maybe reading it in a different form than on a bumper sticker like “he who dies with the most toys still dies,” but for some reason it stuck with me and has been bouncing around in my head for 24 hours now. It stood in direct opposition to my sense of busy, my over-competitive way of being at the newsroom, and a reminder of how this whole thing is a paradox. Maybe a tautology, I don’t know.

We have time left to do what we should, but it may not be as much as we want.

A few weeks ago, we received news in our family that a dear friend is very sick, also with cancer. She is the closest thing I have to an aunt, and it is impossible to overestimate her and her husband’s importance to us. The fiance drove me up to my mom’s after we received the news, so I could hold my new niece and give my mom a hug. On the way back, he let me blather on about memories of times with this woman and her family. And we talked about how you always think you have more time –to introduce the fiance, to return a phone call, to drop by to have a cup of coffee.

So with that in the back of my mind, my chronic busy feeling, the wrinkles developing around my eyes and my increasing need to go to bed earlier and earlier, I stood at the funeral and I sang.

Vanity are all the works and quests of man, and they have no being after death has come.

I hope that that which I have busied myself has had some value further on from here. I hope that I make better choices about how I live in the moments I have. I hope that as I go to another funeral this week, this one for the Son of God as we take His most precious body down from the Cross and spend time in mourning, awaiting His most glorious Resurrection, I remember that there is still time for the Mary moment–to find myself at the feet of Him who loved me so much He became man, rose from the dead and promises me that I will one day rise as well.

I hope I remember this paradox and find a way to live within it.

Behold, the Bridegroom cometh in the middle of the night, and blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching; and again unworthy is he whom He shall find heedless. Beware, therefore, O my soul, lest thou be overcome with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom. But rouse thyself and cry: Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God, through the Mother of God, have mercy on us.