News / white lilies

Are you there God ...?

I was raised to be a Roman Catholic, but in all honesty, I haven't gone to church since I was old enough to actually object to going to church. Which was about age six. I'm not particularly proud or embarrassed by this, it's just the choice I made in regards to my relationship with God. I prefer the Tesla model of religion; just buy it yourself and cut out the middle man. I write this because I recently had a delivery to a church in the lower East-side and when I left the shop, I had no feelings about this one way or the other. It was just another delivery.

I've never made a delivery to a church before and it was odd to me that such an abstemious institution would be the recipient of what some might consider a decadent gift. I entered the Father's office and nonchalantly told him he had a delivery. I placed the arrangement of white roses and white lilies on his spartan desk and he stared at them as though I had just thrown a gift card for a strip club in front of him. He looked at me, his face straining with questions and said: "Who would send me flowers?" I shrugged, not being familiar with his social circle. The Father read the card and smiled. "Oh. This is from an old parishioner of mine. I never thought they would remember me. Especially on my birthday. The world is full of wonders." I couldn't help but be touched that this man was still so in awe of something as simple as a flower delivery and I suddenly felt like a used up, jaded, spiritual whore who had long ago given up on being a human being.

He called in his administrative assistant and told her: "Can you please put these in the rectory? Such beauty shouldn't be enjoyed by just one person." She carefully took the vase and bustled out of the room. I left the church and remembered that such people do exist, even in a city as cynical as New York and in an organization that had seen so much personal turmoil as the Catholic Church. Maybe that's what organized religion is meant to be: a reminder of the good to which we can all aspire.

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