I enjoy watching things get ready at Mass. In fact, I am usually there a good hour ahead of time so that I can sit in big quiet, pray, and be in the space as it breathes between liturgies. I have a regular spot I prefer in one of the apses that affords a view of the altar, an enormous stained glass window, and most of the rest of the congregation. This hour is a gift to myself that costs nothing and yields great richness. Most of the time, that richness is measured in a peaceful, mellow feeling inside me. A feeling of stillness in a city that fairly twitches with noise, tension, and speed. A feeling of connection with God and with those for/with whom I pray. It is a thin place for me, that spot… where I can easily tuck into the corner, cross my legs, close my eyes, and go elsewhere deep within, and elsewhere in our world.
I was gently brought out of that place today by a friend coming up and kissing my cheek while saying good morning. Someone else greeted me with a hug and a friendly ruffle of my newly cut hair. There were more hugs, others passed by, and we exchanged well wishes and smiles. Handshakes all around, warmth, and kindness.
When that gets added to an overall mellowness after an hour of contemplation, I find myself sitting there with a gently leaping fullness in my heart. As often as I tell God how thankful I am for our friendship and the adventure of life, I need to tell my friends there how thankful I am for them, too. It is good for my soul to know them and good for my heart to call them friends.