Sometimes during Mass, my eyes move upwards and from the small windows above is see the passing clouds. The sky is blue, you know, that rich blue sky of summer that thirstily drinks the sunlight, becoming a radiant cerulean dome above us. And I see them pass, the clouds, from one widow to the next. I see them pass, becoming something other than what they were, these tufts, cotton-ball-white, stretched and pulled, edges becoming wispy. Before long, all I can see framed from those windows is that pristine cerulean sky wiped clean of the clouds’ ephemeral presence. Where do they go, the clouds, when we see them no longer?
My gaze descends from the windows to the faces of those around me. I am struck by the thought of how we are as transient as the clouds. I think of what absurd little creatures we are: three quarters water, a hand full of elements and minerals all animated and set alight by electrical impulses. We little creatures all a buzz with our little plans, all a buzz with our little intrigues and blithe inconsistencies. I see the faces of those around me. I think about the man before me kneeling in prayer, his son, his daughter draped over him, looking about. I think about that man, that absurd little creature, much like I, think about what I see of him, seeing only a minuscule portion of a self that lies hidden beneath the surface. To break that surface would be to find an inscrutable depth swirling in currents and cross currents of desire, denial, and longing. And of myself, from those same depths, a memory emerges. Sometimes, at night, I become afraid. I do not know why. I lie in bed in the dark and feel myself and all committed to me being flung into a void. Sometimes, I become afraid, feeling my life being unbound from the sun and I feel we are all rotating, careening haplessly toward some indefinite destination. Sometimes I reach for her, to feel the reassuring weight and warmth of her. Would the good Spirit of God, I pray, hover over this depth and call forth some definite thing from this formlessness?
We absurd little creatures take our cue, stand and the priest begins the Eucharistic Rite. My son wraps his arms around my waist and looks up and whispers something. I cannot hear what he says so I bend my ear to him. “I love you”, he says and looks away toward the altar. I look upward toward those windows, his words, dropping like flare into an abyss. Light moves upon the darkness.