“Governor, it’s your aide on line two.” “Can you tell him to wait, I’m just about to commute the sentence of a prisoner from death by lethal injection to life; the sentence is to be carried out in five minutes.” “Well, sir, he says it’s an emergency; a public school in Loup City wants to know if they can lend their cap and gowns to seniors whose only opportunity to walk down the graduation aisle will be at the local Catholic Church?” “Warden, I’m putting you on hold for a couple of minutes; there’s a call I have to take!”
OK, only half of the above is true. Don’t you feel some compassion for school administrators who have to send such things to the top executive in the state or risk losing a job? And what about governors? How much staff time is taken up with such trivialities? But we can all be guilty of being trivial at times, especially for those stuck at home waiting for the all clear from the pandemic.
A couple of years ago, the governor was answering phoned in questions on a radio show. A gentleman called in to complain that the sign at mile marker 312 about the Nebraska State Fair on interstate 80 still had the August date of that year; this was September. The governor sounded stunned; not that the sign hadn’t been changed but the nut on the other end asked the question. No doubt the governor called home and asked the First Lady of the State how much paint they had and how tall a ladder.
Many years ago in one of my mission parishes, the local public school board had a decided aversion to Catholics. Now I have an aversion to some Catholics, but not all of them just as I have an aversion to some Methodists, Lutherans, etc. Other Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, etc., are very dear friends. As you age you actually begin to befriend more and more people in the hope that by the time you croak, you’ll have some that might be willing to be your pallbearers. But I digress…
Back to the mission parish; we were going to have a Polka Mass. (For those who don’t know what a Polka Mass is, go to a Spanish Mass and pretend they’re singing in Polish; same thing.) We knew that more microphones were needed for the musicians and asked to borrow them from the public school. Even though some of the board members were Catholic, the majority turned us down with the proper scorn that they would “never loan anything to the Catholic Church.” Two months later the same school board asked the parish if they could borrow five roasters from the Church.
A model Christian pastor would have turned the other cheek, walked the extra mile, given them the coat off his back; boy were they out of luck. I recall saying something like, “Kiss my grits!” “Up your nose with a rubber hose,” or one of the other pithy sayings of the early 90’s. It was petty, sinful, callous and it felt good.
As much as we can bother government officials and each other somedays with trivial issues, it’s important to know that God wants to hear about our minor and major concerns. Think in terms of being a parent and listening to a very young daughter or son talk about seeing a butterfly. Perhaps trite to you, but the highlight of a day for them. In God’s eyes, most if not all things that we do are not earth shaking; but the love He shows in listening to us is reflected in the parent’s love in being attentive to a child’s wonderment at a butterfly.
Phone’s ringing; must be the governor.