I found my keys deep inside my bag and somewhat hurried out to unlock the gate for the lady’s visitor, Father Christie. I don’t enjoy keeping anyone waiting and the lady, Miss Willemina, could not walk fast anymore. I could tell the Father was close to driving away, not sure he had found the right place, so I quickened my step. He was on the phone:
“…not sure where I am exactly…” he said, looking up just then and giving me a nod. He said into the phone, “Oh no, no no. She is here. I found it. Yes. Okay,” and closed his flip phone. Perhaps to keep closer to one’s God, the less technology the better.
“Wasn’t sure I’d found you, Willemina,” he said, smiling.
My saccharin sweetness sometimes showed up in moments like this and I, feeling suddenly sarcastic, faked a southern drawl and said, “Oh no, ahm not Miz Willemeenah! Thee lady of thee house is up waterin’ her flowers,” with ‘flowers’ coming out something more like ‘flairs.’ His smile faded, and he continued to drive up the long driveway to the main house. Sometimes people take offense at sarcasm, and the methods with which we cope; however, each person has one. A coping mechanism, I mean. Maybe even more than one.
I decided to take my time getting back up to the house. Father Christie wasn’t there to see me anyway, so I smelled nearly all the flowers, individually, on the way back up the driveway. When I reached the house, Father Christie was already inside, blessing the house as Miss Willemina had requested. As I opened the door, the Father’s speech was somewhat muffled, and I couldn’t quite discern any of what he said. I could tell, however, that he was not speaking in English. Latin maybe. Lots of blah, blah, blahnoooose it sounded to me.
He came into the kitchen from the laundry room, whooshing holy water through the air, “Exorcizo te, immunde spiritus, in nomine Dei Patris omnipotentis, et in nomine domini nostri, Iesu Christi, et in nomine Spiritus Sancti,” of which all I caught was what sounded to me like ‘espiritus sanctus,’ over and over again. And then I remembered that ever since I had seen The Exorcist, and the spinning head, and the green, well, puke, whenever I saw Fathers, it was as if a tape played in my head over and over, “Espiritooooose Sanctoooooose.”
I went to my room to continue working on the database I’d been hired to create by one of my clients. As soon as I had sat back down at my desk, tap tap tap came at my door. The Father peeked his head in and asked, “Would you like me to bless your room?”
“Absolutely,” I answered, perhaps a bit more enthusiastically than necessary. He made his way around my room, large as it is, making sure to chuck holy water in every corner, all the while ‘espiritu sanctus’-ing. I cringed every time, as he got closer to me and my desk, that he swooshed his hand with the holy water. “Espir (chuck) itu (swoosh) Sanc- (chuck) tus (swoosh),” all around. I was starting to feel dizzy. After all, he was chucking and swooshing this wetness, blessed or not, around my laptop, my unframed pictures, my unstained cherry dresser; all things that do not play well with water. But, of course, I could not tell the Father to be careful. I felt that would be rude. Sarcasm is one thing, but rudeness quite another in my book. So I just mentally said prayers to my god that nothing would be harmed.
I noticed, as he moved away from my electronics and towards the door, that he was finishing up my room. He was opening the door to go back out into the living room when I realized that he hadn’t blessed my closet. I thought that was strange. Why would he bless an entire home, every nook and cranny, every corner- only to skip over a closet? Now mind you, I was not the one who invited Father Christie here to do any blessings whatsoever. My understanding of my god is just a bit different, and it doesn’t involve using Fathers or mothers or any other humans to facilitate my relationship or to hasten me to my god or to keep the bad spirits away. Seeing a great opportunity, however, to allow my sarcasm to play for a moment before being carefully tucked back away, I said, “Father? You didn’t bless my closet.”
“Oh. Would you like me to?” The fact that he had to ask this somewhat bothered me, and so, deciding I wasn’t going to allow him to bless the closet now, regardless, I said to him, “Well, isn’t that where the majority of demons hide? I mean, for most people?” His expression led me to believe that he was infuriated by the lightness with which I addressed him, but because of his church position, he could not allow this fury to be seen. As he started to speak, Miss Willemina called from the other room that the coffee was ready, and this was the perfect opportunity to dismiss the man from my room. He didn’t object.
Blessing a home, it seems to me, is something highly steeped in tradition. I’m not one who cares much for tradition; religious, political, or otherwise. Especially when the tradition involves putting man in godspace, acting as a tool doing God’s work. While God may use some people in some situations to help some other people at some specific or non-specific time, I hardly think it is a career that one can prepare for or something that is self-appointed.
The whole spiritu sancto verbiage was replaying within my mind, over and over. I remember reading a King novel once that explained how we have, yes all of us, voices in our heads. There is one voice that is actually our own, while the others speak to us. Like, in this particular King novel, the gal had a voice that she had named Mrs. SomethingOrOther…the actual name escapes me right now, but this voice spoke down to her, as if it had much more experience in life than she did, and as the whole exorcism rites continued to play within my head, I was becoming agitated. I felt the need to regain control over my own inner demons, when my very own Mrs. SomethingOrOther said to me in her always-calm voice, “Come now, child. No lunging at the Father.”
Ever feel like you’re being watched? Like someone is reading your pages, reading your scenes, your lines? I actually feel lately as if I am living inside this King novel. Somewhere, on one of the pages, someone is watching me pee. I know, because I have followed one of his characters into the bathroom on more than one occasion. I have always wondered how the character felt about it. Through subsequent readings, same thing always happens. The character does their business, flushes, and goes about the story. Makes me have so many questions! How many other people were watching that scene with me? How many times did the character have to portray that particular scene that day? And who, pray tell, is writing, watching, developing my story right now?
I got a fuzzy towel out of my still-full-of-demons closet and began wiping down my laptop, wondering if the holy water that had blessed it meant that it would no longer be susceptible to viruses, not entirely sure how that all works. I could hear the Father speaking with Miss Willemina in the living room. I could hear her saying something along the lines of wanting to pay him, or to give him something for his time. He would not accept. Instead, he handed her the Kool-aid pitcher full of holy water that he’d brought for the blessing and said she could keep it. Pitcher, too? I thought she asked. Pitcher, too. Maybe, just maybe, if he had asked for compensation in exchange for the holy water, I could have then put my sarcasm to work again, demanding to know the ingredients. We must know what we pay for.
I put my shoes on as the Father was putting his things back into his bag. Him and Miss Willemina were saying their goodbyes when I walked out the front door in order to once again make the walk down to the gate. Everyone locks their gates out here. In fact, there are more houses with fences or walls around the yards than there are ones without. I think if you believe that something is out to get you, you will put up a fence. And that very fence will be what attracts what you think is already after you. There are so few people in the world who recognize this concept. Knowing this, and having just had my room and my possessions blessed by an actual Father, I all of a sudden had a feeling wash over me. A very strange emotion. Perhaps there could be something to this blessings and curses mumbo jumbo, because for the first time in my life, it seems, I was feeling what could only be thought of as…freedom. There used to be a very large anchor tied to my feet. My feet, my heart, my arms. But now, it was as if I could have ran down that driveway and flown over the gate, and only come back to wave to the people-ants from high above.