My busy weekend culminated with the Blessing of the Animals which had been postponed from Saint Frances Day because of the deluge associated with Hurricane Joaquin.
Sunday brought sunny skies and cool temperatures, a much dryer day for a blessing in the park. My husband, who is normally never sick, was in bed with acute bronchitis, so he couldn’t bring 15 year old Beep as he’d hoped. I was on my own, which was okay, except that I didn’t give myself as much time as I should have. The event was scheduled for 2 that afternoon.
Around noon, on my way home from church, I decided to stop and check with the person who had agreed to bring the microphone and amp. It turned out that person had another obligation, so I borrowed the equipment and loaded it in my car along with my guitar which was already there since I’d played during our morning healing service.
Lesson #1: Don’t wait til the last minute to check on equipment.
I arrived home with just enough time to change clothes and gather my music and the service bulletins.
On the way to the park, I realized I’d forgotten the music stand, so I called our choir director, who lives near the church, and asked him if he’d get it ready for me. He said he’d meet me at the church. On the way there, I realized I’d forgotten the Blessing of the Animals sign I had made! I called my dear husband who brought it out to the car when I swung back by the house.
Lesson #2. Make a list!
After picking up the sign and the music stand, I headed for the park thirty minutes before the event was to start. I’m not usually so disorganized, especially in being the coordinator for my favorite church event. I think postponing the animal blessing to a busier weekend hampered my organizational skills.
Lesson #3. Give yourself time to get there early.
When I got to the park, another group was using the shelter we’d reserved. A young lady informed me they were told they could have this shelter for the baby shower she’d put together. It was also scheduled for 2:00. Even though my name and church were posted on the shelter reservation notice, I told her we could share the space. I wasn’t expecting a big turn out due to the decreased momentum of postponing, and I’d been thinking we might have the blessing under the trees next to the shelter since the weather was beautiful. The young lady was a bit distressed about me asking to use one of the tables for the amp and basket of homemade dog biscuits. She suggested we use the shelter at the other end of the park (the shelter with her name posted on the reservation notice.) I remained firm but pleasant assuring her that we could share the area, and it would work out. Our service would only last about thirty minutes, so we wouldn’t be there that long.
About twenty people and twenty dogs showed up, along with a kitten and two chickens. It was just the right turnout for the space under the trees, and we didn’t really need the mic and the amp with such a small group. I opened the service with this sweet little song by Wendy Francisco:
We prayed for the animals and the earth. Father Dan blessed the animals standing, sitting, barking or being held by their human guardians. The blue sky and crisp fall air provided a lovely afternoon for a friendly community of people who shared a common love of animals.
The people at the baby shower seemed enjoy themselves, too. As we closed the service with “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace,” I thought about how things always work out.
Lesson #4: Keep calm and end with a song.