Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The eyes of a handmaid

Like the eyes of a servant
on the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes are on the Lord our God
— Psalm 123:2b-3a

This was Sunday's psalm. Several years ago, when unbeknownst to us all, our pastor was dying, this verse was often in my head. He was having difficulty walking and eventually, standing for any length of time.  When I was serving Mass and he was presiding, my eyes were on him all the time, to be sure he didn't have to take an extra step at the altar, to be sure his cane was near to hand, to be sure he had an arm to get down the steps.  But also sure to not fuss, to simply be there if needed.

When I think about those days, I think about whether I'm bringing that tender attentiveness away from the altar, taking it out the doors, rather than parking it with the processional cross in the narthex. Are my eyes on those around me, ready to be there, but not intruding?  When I volunteer at the shelter, where however temporary a landing spot it is,  I am in someone else's home, can I be there to hold the door in the morning, or tie a shoe so a parent can pack lunches or go to the bathroom? Can I fade into the woodwork otherwise? It takes sharp eyes indeed, ones that I'm still working on.

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