As I mentioned , with gatherings now safe and back in force, the outdoor mass with the local church on a beautiful day is a good way to get back into the swing of things.
Walking in the front of the church was empty as most were walking around to the outdoor area ; Except for me and an elderly gentleman of about 90 years of age walking slowly with a weathered but distinctive wooden cane.
Since I now know the routine after last Sunday, I told him about the outdoor service and he looked like I did last week when I found out , a bit confused but relieved . So I offered to get him a chair so he could sit outside which he appreciated as there was no permanent seating .
He didn’t want to bother me , and when I persisted , he asked if I could get one for his wife as well.
I did of course , thinking that she had dropped him off at the door while she parked the car , and he was very appreciative.
I stood further back out of the way and as it turned out , out of the site of this gentleman.
Later , I got a better view to check on him and the other chair was still empty. Then I thought back and remembered I saw him slowly get out of his own car he was driving and alone , before church started ..
So , likely either his wife had passed or was home too ill to attend.
The chair seemed empty to us , but not to him; his wife was there by his side , probably like she had been for decades.
Some might say he was not all there , but to have a physical spot for her memory , his comfort and perhaps for when she recovered , makes a lot of sense. What better place to demonstrate faith and hope for the future , symbolic or not .
Who is to say , but I am grateful he let me put a second chair out there for her and was able to help him keep her close.