At church this morning I settled into the pew with the usual family chaos swirling around me. For me, though, I was mute and angry and sad in the way that only an argument before church will leave you. I knelt and tried wanly to turn from myself and toward the joy of the day. Easter. All has been made new.
In the pew in front of me was a couple I know, with their two small children. It's a terrible habit, people-watching during Mass. Especially on those days when it's harder to raise my eyes like I should. The husband reached over the head of their youngest and placed one warm hand on his wife's shoulder. She turned careful eyes to him.
"I love you," he whispered. She nodded, and mouthed the words back. She started to turn back, but he rubbed her shoulder again. She looked back. "I'm sorry about this morning," he whispered.
You know how some animals' skin can change before your eyes? Like an octopus or a chameleon? To camouflage them or display aggression? Women's faces do that too, only instead of protecting them, it exposes them.
Her cheeks flushed, and the muscles under her skin tightened. Her chin tipped up, to trap the tears that pooled in her eyes. She nodded wordlessly, and they both turned back toward the front of the church.
I watched shamelessly, tears rolling down my own cheeks. The choir burst into song, and we all rose to sing our welcome of the good news, the death and the life, the love and the loss.
My own husband's warm hand reached for mine, and I wept and sang too.