“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
Saint Pope John Paul II
I couldn’t believe the efficiency of receiving my first of two vaccine shots. My nightmare prediction of what a local third-tier hospital would be like couldn’t have been further from the reality. It was so smooth that when they scheduled me for my second shot, I didn’t even realize it would be Good Friday. I was hoping it wasn’t an omen. I arrived a little early on Friday so that I could get home in time for Stations of the Cross. As I walked into the same lobby, the previously non-existent line now not only existed, but snaked through several hallways. Here we go, I thought. I took a deep breath and found my appointed socially-distant circle at the end of the line. As I scrolled the Passion on my phone, I kept being distracted by a very loud Philadelphia accent that seemed to be directing traffic. No, this wasn’t the security guard or a medical professional. It was a scruffy gentleman in his matching Eagles Superbowl 52 mask and jersey five people ahead of me in line, telling people where the bathrooms were and every once in a while making a harmless vaccine comment. "What, no soft pretzels in this line?" The man joked. "Could’ve done a Wawa Hoagie fest outside and made a killing. Am I right?" It was as if I was in a bad skit. Piously returning to the Passion, I thought to myself, Who needs this right now? No sooner had the thought filled my mind, when I heard a woman’s voice. "Thank you for making me laugh. I have been so nervous all day," she said to the Eagles' number one fan. No sooner had she thanked him, when he yelled to another person across the lobby, "Yo, you lookin’ for the bathroom? Down that hall, make a right." That woman yelled back, "Thanks! You’re a life saver!" Without skipping a beat, he held up a pair of rosaries and said, "Only one Savior today and He’s on the cross!" As I looked around, the only person who didn’t have a smile on his face was me.
As I drove home with a sore arm, I couldn’t help but think how perhaps a lot of people needed what that man was offering. Someone to notice them, someone to make them smile, someone to point them in the right direction. How often am I paying attention to what others are looking for and stepping out of line, literally or figuratively, to offer it to them? As we move into this season of Easter and the world begins to open again, will we be people who are open, who can’t help but speak to the incredible moment that changed human history, or will we just keep our heads down and move along? Are we wearing our jerseys? Blessings to you this Easter!