When I am aware enough to really observe what is going on around me, I can't help but realize that life is sublime and absurd. As an occupational therapist in a skilled nursing facility, I am often in a ideal position to experience some wondrous things. One of the residents I’m working with wanted me to go with her to “mass”. To the extent that my presence was going to facilitate her participating in something meaningful for her, I went with her. Although I am not a Christian, I have a certain level of reverence for religious rituals in general, so I observed quietly. They got to the part where they handed out wafers as “the body of Christ,” and one of residents did not close her mouth when the wafer was placed on her tongue. The crazy wafer lady then started to poke the end of the wafer into the lady’s mouth like she was feeding hay to a horse. It was awful.
Then I realized this must be the same lady I about whom had I had heard an even stranger story. At another mass, one of the residents, who has moderate dementia, dropped her wafer down her shirt. The wafer landed somewhere in her ample bosom. The lady handing out the wafers tried to retrieve it! The resident was understandably alarmed and became upset that this lady had her hand down her shirt. The wafer could not be located, and the lady was beside herself. Apparently the lady went with the resident to the resident’s room, had a nursing assistant retrieve the wayward wafer, and then crazy wafer lady ATE it. Whoa! What went wrong here? I bet Jesus, if he did exist, would be shaking his head about this one! He’d probably be thinking, “It’s a SYMBOL, guys!” Don’t take everything so literally, for my sake!