pity or not

I sit in the pew as I usually do, hoping Ian keeps himself entertained with one of the quieter toys I’ve brought.  As usual, I miss the point of the hour long ceremony I’ve been accustomed to subjecting myself to ever since I was a baby.  Not that I actually made the decision at birth to become a Catholic, but it runs deep into who I am given that my parents engraved this routine into my life each Sunday.

It’s something I try not to do, but I’m constantly distracted by the others who attend mass.  I am immediately drawn to an older man who I haven’t seen at the church we go to since we moved here two years ago.  I guess that he’s in his seventies and wonder if he’s new since the church is small, or if he’s like us, and makes it to church when he can.

I decide he takes pretty good care of himself well with seasonal and tasteful clothes, and has a good head of hair for an elderly man of this age.

I don’t notice him again until I realize that after communion he has made a mistake; he has returned to a seat in front of us, instead of two rows ahead where he was sitting for the majority of the time.

I immediately forget about him after the mass ends and we depart to the parking lot.  It’s when we are getting Ian into the car that I see the man again, wandering.  He is clearly unsure of where he’s parked, something I’m already confused about at twenty-nine years old, especially when I’m at the grocery store.

It’s not a fast process, getting Ian fastened into his seat when I realize this man is clearly not even sure he’s parked in either lot on both sides of the church.  I feel an immediate connection that this man could very well be my father in the years ahead, or even Bub.  Or, as I tell Bub, it could be me.

I know I must help him so I tell Bub to drive me closer to where he’s wandering off to.

The man has a quick pace and when I’ve started, like a stalker, to follow him on foot, I keep turning around to the slowly moving car behind me that Bub is driving.  I feel like my actions are that of a kidnapper even though I’m far from doing any such thing.

I finally reach him and he’s near another woman who is fumbling with something in her trunk.  The shy part of me is a little afraid to say something aloud to the man for fear she’ll hear and judge me.  But I know I have nothing to feel embarrassed about.

My instincts are right and the man does not know where his car is.  I tell him to hop in with us so we can bring him to it after he points out that the color of it is similar to a vehicle parked nearby.

He is grateful for our help and I feel a pang of sadness when Bub tells me he left his bulletin in our car.  I notice he has no wedding band on and I wonder if he’s returning to a home that is empty and without love.

I wish that he wasn’t alone and that someone is living with him who can make sure he doesn’t have to wander around often wondering who might help him. 

I tell Bub it was so easy to have him get in the car with us that I hope no one takes advantage of his confusion. 

I am not proud by my kindness but happy that I’ve brought back this stranger to something familiar, even if it is just a car.

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One thought on “pity or not

  1. That was so nice of you. I feel badly for him and hope he has some family or someone to help him at home.

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