Friday, August 30, 2013

Creature Comfort

On the wall is a crucifix, symbols of blood and wind, strength that follows me through my day. 

As I enter the building, the light shines on those small testaments of ritual, those things that bring peace and beauty to what could otherwise be chaos. A drape of white cloth, upon which lay a cup, a candle there, unlit for now, but soon to be anointed by flame.

I know he's waiting for me, so that I can unburden myself. He's probably thinking as well, it's been so long since I've been back. I wait outside the door for just a moment, taking in the tranquil quiet, the peaceful shadow.
But first, I will light the candle, for me, for souls unlit. For the ones I could save, and those I could not, all merging now into one sustained breath that ignites this small candle into flame. The flame swirls up unto the heavens as the stars bow and draw backwards.

In my pocket are implements forgotten. I gently finger them like beads, uttering the words that came from my mouth as I worked with them, words that strung out like coronals of roses as I disturbed anothers solemn remains, bent and bowed to my duties. Forgive me.  Forgive them.

I pull those tools of my day from my pocket and lay them upon the white cloth.  In the candlelight they gleam like the nicked and scuffed chain mail armor of angels.
From behind the door I hear the murmur of movement as my arrival is sensed. I stand outside, as silent as I did not long before, tongues of ash and flakes of fire raining on down, anointing the bones of men. How I wish they would stir, awakening to the fire, but they somethings do not. I make the sign of the cross, peace to their ashes.

I open the door, but it is not the door to penance and confession, not at this hour, this place. But it is a door to one that still, with heart untouched by either sin or evil, will listen to me, even if he can not speak.

He will listen as liquid words flow from weary brain, symbols that are not of a periodical but of the elements of mystery, questions asked, reason answered. He will listen without asking and he will forgive without penance, though he can be stirred to almost evangelical zeal by a small nugget of biscuit.
From the distance, a church bell, a sound that does more than note one more hour, one more increment of time and grief that's ticked since Genesis. It's the sound of hope and faith, one that cleaves the air with a sharp instrument of promise, as a dog joyously barks.

When he has eaten first, I will go out to sit at that cloth covered table. I will take the meat, the bread and the wine, and I will pause, bent with sin but saved by grace, there as I bow my head in thanks.  It is thanks, not just for the company of friends and the reminder of hope, but for a small furred creature who blesses me with the wag of a tail.

17 comments:

Keads said...

Indeed. I sorely miss having such a noble creature here with me. It would be unfair to do so given my current circumstances though.

Mathew Paust said...

Hahaha. You had me going. Clever and nicely done. Father Barkley the Confessor.

Jennifer said...

Dogs always keep your secrets and they never judge you

Stephen said...

OK, you sucked me in. You got me. :-) Pitch Perfect Brigid!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

It is wise to feed the furry friends first.

Opinionated Grump (Rich in NC) said...

.... Amen.

Eric said...

I can hear Barkley: "Hey! Who are you calling small?".

billf said...

I live alone,(except for my two Brittanies)Don't know what I'd do without them to keep me company.
Beautiful writing ,that last part.

armedlaughing said...

Matthew Paust takes the Internets!

gfa

Rev. Paul said...

Well done!

purplemagpiesnest said...

Oh, thank you, Brigid -- how beautiful! I too have felt the healing grace of a Good Dog's patient ear and unconditional love after a harrowing day. And I too know what it is to be "bent with sin and saved by grace," reminded by my dogs that in spite of everything I am loved.

Purple Magpie

PA State Cop said...

Bless me Father for I have sinned. Its been a loooonnng time since my last confession. ;)

danontherock said...

Great to have dogs and faith. The only things I have left.

Old NFO said...

Yep, I 'bit' too... Well done Lady!!! :-)

JaneofVirginia said...

I have always joked than dog is God spelled backwards !

Andie said...

Thank you once again for words of wisdom on so many levels... the grace of dogs, cats, and companion animals is to be emulated!

Auntie J said...

Amen.