|This angle is a tad deceptive, but there were hundreds of people on the altar!|
Bless me, Father, for I have shin splints.
Okay, okay, I didn't think that one up. I borrowed it from an article that discusses St. Patrick's Cathedral's pre-Marathon Mass. I had a Radio City wig fitting at 5 o'clock, I decided to head over to the 5:30 Mass at St. Pat's afterward.
As it turns out, I arrived at the Mass that had been designated for the NYC Marathon runners. Even though the Marathon was canceled, the priest decided to say a blessing all the same.
I'm sure that by now you've heard all the controversy about the Marathon. Should we have the Marathon to celebrate New York City's resilient spirit? Or should we cancel it to reserve resources for those still suffering from the impact of Hurricane Sandy? I must say that I was on the fence about this one. There really wasn't a good solution any way you sliced it. If I were in Staten Island without power for the sixth day, I would be FURIOUS that there was an extra generator sitting in Central Park as a backup for the media tent. But if I were from Kenya and had been saving money and training my whole life to run this year, I would be absolutely crushed.
So when more than two hundred runners made their way to the altar for the blessing, I lost it. I completely teared up. It just seemed so sad and beautiful and heartbreaking and lovely all at once. The priest said something to the effect that though the runners would not be in the official race, God would be with them as they ran through their daily lives. I'm so glad I was there to be a part of it.
Of course, I spoiled the whole thing by evaluating the "runners" on the altar. Some brought their families up there, which was fine. But I couldn't help but wonder...were there any fakers up there? Any people who just wanted to see the view from the best seat in the house? And of course there were those who delayed the conclusion of the service because they couldn't stop taking pictures up there. I was only sitting ten rows back, so I could basically hear what they were saying: "Okay, take a picture of me with the priest. Okay, now I'll take one of you with the priest. Now me again. Not too close, I look terrible in this light! Okay, now one of all of us." And on, and on.
Luckily, the closing hymn brought it all back home.
O, God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.