One of the major perks of blogging at Patheos is that Elizabeth Scalia occasionally shares her dreams with us. As the lost sailor in the Dark Island says, “Not daydreams:dreams!”
I awoke from a dream in which Simcha Fisher, Margaret Rose Realy and I were all doing “home visits” as part of some parish evangelical outreach. We were supposed to go to a house, introduce ourselves, say we’d been trained by the parish and ask if they would like a blessing. That’s all. We were just offering blessings to people. This lady opens the door and steps out into the beautiful sunlight with her little dog and says she’d like a blessing for her dog.
When Margaret is done, I ask the lady if she would now like to be blessed. She looks doubtfully at Margaret, and says, “Depends. Does it have to be loud, like that?”
“I can bless you very quietly,” I assure her.
“Can we do the part about rejecting Satan?” She asks.
“That’s the renewal of baptismal promises!” Simcha says. “I have bap-a-tized 15 children. Irene says ‘bap-a-tized.’”
“I don’t see why we can’t let her renew her baptismal promises if she wants to,” Margaret says. “In fact I think every blessing should require that. We should be eager to say ‘I reject Satan and all of his works…”
Margaret is getting loud again, so I tell the woman, “sure, you can renew baptismal promises”, and we lead her through it and when she’s done I pronounce, “this is our faith, the faith of the church; we are proud to profess it,” and then move into a standard blessing.
Suddenly Margaret falls to the ground as though slain in the spirit, and begins shouting about how Christianity is painful and not a warm blanket but the cross, but she is willing to bear the cross.
Simcha sits back down and starts looking at her swelling ankles. The woman lights a cigarette and, watching Margaret, asks “what is this? Is it something new?”
“It’s Flannery O’ Connor,” I tell her. “She must have read Tod Worner‘s latest piece.”
By now Margaret is shouting to the sky, “Take me now, Jesus! If you want me this instant, I am yours!”
The woman says “I guess she and Jesus are having a moment…”
Simcha says, “I think her blood sugar is low, are there any cookies?”
“I think everyone’s blood sugar is low. Margaret, get up. Let’s go have ice cream.”
“Oh, ice cream sounds nice,” the lady says as her dog starts licking Margaret’s face, and Margaret giggles.
“Ice cream!” shouts Simcha, launching herself off the stoop and running toward the car.