I admit, I was succumbing to a bit of self-pity and restlessness the last day or two. But after 8am Mass this morning, that all changed.
I watched a sweet elderly lady balance herself and her cane against a pew to put on her scarf, and realized she must have come to church alone. I know her from seeing her regularly at daily Mass, but couldn't remember her name.
"Did you drive here all by yourself?" I approached, thinking to help her get to her car.
"Oh, no -- I walked," came the sweet reply, to my incredulous expression. (Mind you, it was all of 25 degrees F here this morning!)
"I've been told it's 18 blocks round-trip," she continued rosily while zipping her coat, "but I always tell people 14 because I don't like to sound like a show-off."
"And how old are you, again?" I queried.
"I'm 92 and —what's today?— 32 days."
She proceeded to kiss me goodbye on the cheek. "Love ya. And you have such a sweet dimple!"
That was just the inspirational kick I needed. Here is a precious lady who doesn't drive and who can barely walk steadily, yet who rises early on icy mornings to walk 8+ blocks one way to Church and who is always there on time... and here is 22-year-old me, who too many mornings (especially lately) weakly allows myself "just a few more minutes" under the warm covers and then arrives late to Mass.
The joyful witness of such fidelity moves me to strive for greater discipline this Advent, and reminds much I still need to learn about denying myself...
Thank you, Mary Ann! May your reward be great.