Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waking From A Dark Sleep

 I haven't posted here for over a year.  It's been a year of being dragged down by 18 months of news reports and talk show hosts on both sides of political issues, a year of writing innumerable letters and pleas to representatives, often answered by form letters telling me what a good job they are all doing.  It has been a nightmare year of family divisiveness over extreme opinions, of some of my children being ashamed of me for being old fashioned and not progressive enough in my thinking.

 I drive a tour bus for a living. Every trip can be something new. Yesterday I had an experience that sent me back to this blog for an update. A group of local Catholics chartered a bus to take their group to Yakima, WA, 120 miles south, to an ordination ceremony of new Catholic priests.  Some riders asked if I, the driver, was to collect their money for going.  I found the director of the trip for them, but noticed how many young people paid their way and boarded the bus on a Saturday for a day's outing for their church.  I have to mention, all were nicely dressed and clean and upright, looking me in the eye and speaking with a smile on their face.

 I am not a Catholic.  In fact, I wonder sometimes if I'm an agnostic. Still not sure on that one, as I've led a rather confused spiritual life.  What I saw, though, at their destination, was an excited, engaged group of hundreds of people, happily laughing and talking and sharing seeing each other again, as many had gone to this event before.  One of our tour buses pulled in from Tri-Cities, another 100 miles south of Yakima, and the parking lot was full of cars and difficult to maneuver in with our big vehicles.  While de-boarding, and again while waiting to board passengers after the event, several priests in fine embroidered robes approached me to thank me for bringing people from our home town. Strangers stopped to talk while I stood by the door, asking where we were from and how I liked driving. Some had stories of using our company for trips from the past. While we talked I was aware of the happy gaggle of  people collected outside the church around refreshment tables, many dressed in their church-going best, a sea of color and smiling faces on a beautiful fall day.

  The point, you ask? There is definitely still something right with America, and I think I have found where to look for it.  Look at the houses of worship, of any kind.  They have a purpose the rest of us lack.  They have guidance outside of themselves, something else to relate to.  Every house of worship has this strength in common with every other one.  And I believe all of them would like to stand with their doors open.