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A New Agenda



Rory got the name “agenda baby” early on from Shane. He would dump blocks out and then move them from point A to point B for hours. Busily. Face serious: he had an agenda we couldn’t see.

Today, 8 am church with the sun shining white lightening through the stained glass window, I can’t look up directly without going sun blind. Shattered purple and blue and yellow and red. As if glass was falling through a rainbow.

My mind can’t concentrate today on the meditative prayers and promises I usually go through. I have an agenda today and it scrolls through my mind like a pasta machine, rolling out my jobs.

The priest’s voice goes in and out. Sounds like the AM radio traveling through Nebraska at 3 a.m. on our way to Denver. I catch bits and pieces and respond some with prayers I have known by heart for fifty years. Today I spout out a line too early, or a wrong word. The lady in front of me turns around once, head tilted - not intentionally I’m sure. Just a knee jerk reaction to hearing something slightly off.

The sun shifts and I can look up at the window now. A resurrected Jesus, a fleeing Roman guard and a trumpeting Angel Gabriel. Through it you can see the shadow of a tree branch with a tiny bird on it. This shadow branch bobs with the weight of the bird just above the raised hand of the frightened soldier who is dressed in a fine purple uniform. I lose my place in the prayers as I watch the bird launch from the branch and fly right through the bare foot of the glowing white Jesus. The branch shadow bounces up and down until the bird reappears and lands again. This goes on for awhile. The bird flying up and down. Very busy. Agenda bird.

I have a particularly privileged day ahead. Laundry, gym, grocery, writers group, pack for Marina Del Rey. Hardly the agenda of a life of toil. Instead of saying the Our Father, I grapple with when I am going to get a shower in.

And then, suddenly, as if the car turned into the Union 76 Truck Stop at Ogallala, Nebraska - and we get some great reception - the priest’s voice comes in stronger and he asks us to pray for our leaders, for our relatives who have gone on before us.

Lord hear our prayer, I mindlessly answer.

But then - as if the Angel Gabriel, himself, broke into a dream I was having about the California beach and friends and strawberry mojitos, the priests says:

"Let us pray for those people who have no one to pray for them. "

My blessed and lucky heart just about rips in two. I try to imagine what this means!? Having nobody to pray for me. And my chest feels as heavy as a piano. A piano playing a song no one will hear. It is so foreign to me, that in my mind's eye all I can see are shadows. Faceless people moving from point A to point B.

And I start a new agenda. A new prayer.

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