I gave up this morning. I laid down on the bathroom floor and decided not to get up.
There was no point.
Nothing anyone said or did made a difference. Walk over me. Walk round me. Just don’t disturb my misery. It’s mine.
The world is rude. Not fit for human habitation. Dispose of me as you wish. Toss me out with the morning trash with a note stating my case. If the trashman has any understanding of the human condition he will take me with him.
They did not do that. Instead, they summoned an army of my past, and a horde of my present to bring me back to life.
Starting with my old parish priest. They implored him to pray for my survival. Then sent him in.
“It’s been a long time,” he says, putting the toilet lid down and sitting. “I remember you from the church. Shy little blonde boy making up sins in the confessional. Feeling guilty that you’d be wasting my time because you had no real sins to be fessing up to.
“‘Forgive me Father, for I have sinned,’ you would say, ‘I lied to my parents and I swore and cursed at my friends.’ Then I’d absolve you of your sin of lying to no one but me. I’d have you do two Our Father’s and Three Hail Mary’s. For this you seemed grateful. Others, you knew, didn’t get off so easy.
“Then I’d see you at the Sunday service with your brother and sister. You looked so solemn. Trying hard not to laugh at the rudeness of your friends. Even as a young priest I thought you much too serious for your own good. ‘Got a stick up his rear,’ I would say.
“I don’t know what the years have done to your heart and mind, but I know that it’s not hopeless. You have a power beyond anything. We all have. It’s enabled us to crawl naked from the ocean and leave our dirty laundry on the moon.
“Sorry," he says, “just trying to lighten the mood. Oh, well, there’s a line of people outside, so I won’t keep you. I just want you to know I’m there if you need me. And please don’t pass on what I said about crawling from the ocean. The monsignor is very old school about these things.”
The old priest left and I heard a rumble from the hallway outside the bathroom door.
“Scuse me!” I heard Sophie say, ”I gotta go pee!”
Sophie is three.
“Hi, Daddy,” she says, lifting the lid and getting straight to business.
“Wanna see what I can do?” she says.
Sophie then holds her breathe and grunts with all her might until a distinctive fart tone reverberates off the toilet water.
“Pretty cool, huh.” she says.
“The coolest, Sophie,” I laugh. “The coolest.”
Sometimes it’s the little things that make you see the bigger picture.
Works for me.