According to Mapquest, Holy Trinity Church in San Pedro is 37.7 miles from my house and should take 44 minutes to drive there. It's a long way to go to hear a choir of mostly volunteers sing The Messiah. It's a doubly long way to go at rush hour on a Friday night.
But Marcus is one of the non-volunteer, paid singers in that choir and he was singing last night. In light of the recent national tragedy, I had to go. I would have gone even farther to see my son, my only child. To hell and back.
Add rain to the Friday night traffic and you'll understand why it took me about an hour and a half to get to the church. I drove around the strange neighborhood before finding a place to park along a curb, about a block away. Since I have apparently misplaced my umbrella, I put my raincoat's hood up and trudged to the entrance. Or, an entrance. It was a large door with a sign on it about food, beverages, and cell phones. I pulled on the handle and it opened.
So my first faux-pas was to come in through the side door. Although I've been in quite a few churches, I have not been in a lot of Catholic churches. I was just hoping to get in and out without some kind of genuflecting mishap. There were a lot of people already in the pews. I walked around to get the lay of the land, so to speak, and saw a table at the REAL entrance with programs and a cash box.
"Hi, I came in the wrong door," I announced and gave them $20. The man looked at me like I had two heads, but was welcome, anyway, and handed me a program. I chose a seat in the back, to the left, and got as comfortable as one can get with their tush on hard wood.
Soon a tiny little lady sat next to me, and by tiny, I mean elfin in size. She craned her neck and scanned the backs of everyone's heads.
"Gee, I hope I can see," she said. "There weren't any closer seats."
I pointed to the racks of hymnals in front of us. "You could always sit on those."
She then talked about the rain and the traffic, and then wanted to know all about Marcus when I told her that I had come from Placentia to hear him. After a few minutes, she said, "You know, I think I will sit on those books." She stacked them all up and sat her tushie down, pronouncing the view "much better."
I love helping people.
The program was very good. The soloists were mostly excellent, and the choir sang beautifully. It was comforting to hear this soothing, uplifting music when my heart had churned all day. A few more tears came when the priest asked for a moment of silence to honor the victims, but it was nice to be in a room full of other people bowing their heads, even if they were strangers to me.
The best part of the evening was hugging my son. Yes, I hugged him a little too tightly. We talked, we laughed, and made plans. He had to rush off to a party, so I left. I felt strengthened and warm, like a tired runner who gets that second wind. All would be well with my soul.
The drive home went quickly, even though it was still raining. I went to bed happy that my son was happy, on his way to be with friends and have a good evening.
I didn't take any pictures of the event, or any video. But this YouTube clip captures the moment.