Thursday, December 26, 2013

Days Away

Christmas Day has passed and I'm tired. I had energy for each moment, but at the end of the day, I was drained. Saying a mass is like a performance because it takes a great deal of energy and in this part of the world, you have to be a sensate - aware of all the drama that goes on. Every mass has its own character and dynamic in the five sites here in Amman. They all went well, but now I need a restored disposition.

Christmas seems to bring out a sacramental memory for some Filipinos. One woman asked to baptize her child on Friday, December 27th. I sat with her four times to explain that we will not be able to perform the sacrament on that date (because I will not be in Amman), and that I will hold three baptisms on the Baptism of the Lord in early January. She nodded each time and then asked for the 27th. I realized that any reason I gave her would not satisfy her demand for the 27th. She was persistent. After those four talks, she called and texted fifteen to ask for the 27th. I reckon a party had already been planned. Poor woman. Then there were two others who wanted baptism on the same weekend because they thought a Christmas baptism was just perfect for their holiday, while one man urgently called on December 24th because he wants to marry a Catholic woman. I'm wondering if there are Christmas traditions for sacrament in their culture. Fine! Great! Everyone, let's wait for Christmas to pass. It is a very busy time for a priest. Let's at least have the baptismal preparation seminars first.

I decided I would go to Aqaba for a few days rest. As soon as I checked into the hotel room, I went out to my car to collect my belongings. I heard, "Father, Father." A young Filipino man had been stationed in the resort city for two months and he recognized me right away. He asked, "Are you here to get away from the Filipino women?" He laughed and said, "The can be tough. They are used to getting what they want." I laughed and told him, "I just need some time away." He's a good guy and I hope he becomes a Eucharistic Minister for me. He is a classy guy.

Anyways, I set out for Aqaba by the King's Highway, which was difficult to find because there are no helpful road signs. Once I got on the highway, my journey almost ended as a bitch ran out in front of my car and stopped like a deer. She was still nursing so I'm glad I did not hit her. Within 15 miles, I saw two other dog corpses on the road. They must be hungry and in search of food.

I wanted to take the King's Highway because it would have views of the mountains. Why am I attracted to the views, but my body does not agree with my desires. My legs get rubbery, my heart rate increases, my neck stiffens and I want no noise in the car, my driving slows down to a crawl as I take those hairpin turns. I can't stand driving on those roads yet I'm compelled to take those pictures that take my breath away.

I chickened out. After I passed the Mujib Dam, I was set to go to Karak, but since I did not have an adequate baedeker to know the roads, I took the road that had less travel time to Aqaba. Ah, the weather is seventy-six degrees and it is supposed to increase over the next two days. Maybe I'll get the break I need. I know the fast pace is going to resume as soon as I return. I wish I had a secretary, or better yet, a music director.

Anyways, let me rest for a few days.

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