My priest friend and I were finishing a hiking tour in Austria and spent our last days in London. We saw a Broadway show on Saturday night and then Sunday morning arrived.
We walked to St. Martin in the Fields square complete with pigeons, a coffee shop and an old Episcopal Church. We enjoy our morning coffee and he tells me that he looked online for Catholic Churches in the area and found one nearby whose Mass would begin in thirty minutes. I look at him as if to say, “And your point is?” He said that I was welcome to join him but that he was going. I said, “Just look where you are and you want to go to church?” Well, he left for his church and I was alone; or was I?
10:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning, St. Martins in the Field (where Neville Marriner has recorded more classical music than Andrew Greely characters), the pigeons fly and flop around the fountain as more people gather, I’m holding the London Times and a cup of coffee along with a nearby ashtray. It slowly begins a misty rain (the Irish call it a “soft rain”) and I wonder if I should go inside. I think to myself, “I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin; I’m not going anywhere!”
The rain moistens my newly unread newspaper but soon leaves as softly as it arrived. The people continue to gather, the pigeons do what pigeons do and I’m on the steps of an ancient Episcopal Church with my coffee and a cigarette pondering the meaning of life that I’ve pondered for decades now with little comforting results.
The pondering stops and I think to myself, “Wow.” Just that. It reads the same backwards as forward. I just think, “Wow.”
My priest friend returns after fulfilling his Catholic obligation and told me that the sermon was long and boring.