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A Moment

December 30, 2011

On Christmas Day morning I was the Usher at Trinity’s service – not the huge social celebration of the Christmas Eve event – but a typical gathering of those hoping to find connection to something not part of the naturally observable world or their own egocentric perch. Ushers are the ingratiating guardians – making strangers comfortable and providing a sense of comfort to those who wander in.

An inebriated man, declaring himself to be “profoundly deaf” timidly asked to come into the service. He did not believe me when I said “Of course.” But upon my third affirmation, I seated him, whereupon he expressively and silently gesticulated to the music and worlds he theoretically could not hear, and ultimately fell asleep.

The Sexton (the actual Security Guard for the church) was fairly upset I let him in. A street person, out of control, on Christmas Morning – “you cannot do that.”.

But when the deaf and drunk man sought me out when he awoke to awkwardly thank me – I saw in his face the gratitude each of us feel when we are rendered helpless by circumstance, and yet are welcomed into the presence of others. Not the contrived cynical hype of a Starbucks cup instant aphorism, but the connection to a larger consciousness of our common human frailty.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon Gibbs permalink
    December 30, 2011 11:44 am

    On my fourth night at YNH, looking forward to my first good nights sleep, I was awoken at 2:00AM by a very noisy and prolonged admission to the other bed in my room. This large black man confided in me that he just needed to dry out a few days, he seemed to be enjoying a square meal and warm bed, I suspected that was what he really was after. By four AM is was having my fist of only two AFIB episodes and wasn’t resting until the next day. I couldn’t help but overhear the doctor’s interview with him- explaining that tests had shown that he had not had a cardiac event, but that his crack OD had mimicked one and could have caused one, then asked about his HEP-C condition and his flu symptoms, and list of other complaints. Having eschewed visits from friends to minimize my risk of infection, I was a bit upset. I can’t say that we came to get along famously, but he was still there when I was discharged, and after hearing his stories shared with his nurse-also a Vietnam vet of the 82nd Airborn (Urban was the fastest at rapelling down from the Jolly Green Giants) and his years of work (until nine years previous) at Girard Auto, I did feel that I was fortunate indeed, and also owed a debt of gratitude to the State of Connecticut and YNH for beeing there for me in my time of need.

  2. Eileen Banisch permalink
    December 30, 2011 12:00 pm

    Thank you Duo, for sharing with us the true meaning of Christmas.

  3. Rick Nelson permalink
    December 30, 2011 3:17 pm

    Good for you, Duo – you acted the way God intends us to be…

  4. Barbara Feinberg permalink
    December 30, 2011 6:46 pm

    Duo, you are such a beautiful writer. I love reading your stuff
    all best for the new year,
    barbara

  5. Pat Baldo permalink
    December 31, 2011 9:02 am

    Beautiful. What a gift, on many levels. Thank you, Duo.

  6. Patrick Pinnell permalink
    December 31, 2011 10:27 am

    God rest ye, merry gentle man. Duo, thanks.

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