Monday, September 22, 2008

Spirit Weak

Mrs. Bartleby was never one for mystical events, and when rumors spread of the spiritual wildfire that had consumed the other parishes in the region, her skepticism held fast and strong. That's not to say that she never had faith--she had plenty to go around--but she simply found those wild spiritual gifts and fits of holy enlightenment to be somewhat absurd and exaggerated.
Imagine the look of surprise on the parishioners' faces on that Sunday morning  when Mrs. Bartleby stood up after writhing like a dying snake on the floor of the pew. She nonchalantly patted off the gathered dust from her best blue dress, trying hard not to acknowledge that mere moments earlier, her heart had become a fault line, casting wild tremors through her body. Mrs. Bartleby simply wiped the spilled silva from her chin, pulled her dress back down, and neatened her hair. 
When she finally surveyed the scene, hoping no one noticed her, she was greeted by a sea of wide, frozen, lemur eyes, all aimed unflinchingly towards her. She stammered for a moment before turning back to face the altar and lifting her face up ever so slightly. Sensing the collective eyes  still trained her, she waited a moment before announcing, "I had a bad cough this week. That must have been the last of it."
Satisfied with her response, the parishioners looked away, and Father Bailey continued on with the mass as if nothing had happened.
"At this time--especially in such a sensitive and tumultuous climate," he boomed through the house PA, "it is important to ask yourselves: who would Jesus vote for, if he were able? Now, I cannot answer this query for you, but I should not have to remind you all that the Lord is with us everyday, and we need only to open our hearts and listen and we will find the answers and the guidance that we need to make such difficult decisions in even more difficult times..."
When the congregation rose shortly thereafter, Mrs. Bartleby excused herself, hiding in the shuffle, and slipped away to the bathroom to fix her hair.

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