Seated behind me, an off-key singer belted every word to each hymn and prayer during the church service. Her voice cracked and carried in all directions, butchering the notes, but she had all the words down pat.
Midway through the service, my daughter whispered into my ear, can you hear the woman’s voice behind you? I nodded.
It was time to pass the peace, a Catholic mass ritual. I wasn’t raised Catholic, so I’m not familiar with the religion’s formalities. Plus, it’s my nature to keep to myself. I prefer a seat in the back of the classroom, a drive-thru cashier who does not to take my order at my car’s window, a bike or yoga mat that’s off to the side in a workout room, and a private table in the back of a restaurant.
Attempting to participate in this greeting ritual, I gazed at the people near me, but everyone was busy greeting others. After a few seconds and an awkward pause, I turned to the row behind me. I faced The Voice.
The Voice is an older woman and less than 5′ tall, wearing a blue and white striped bucket hat.
We smile at each other, taking each other’s hands as I say, peace be with you.
Smiling and with the most crystal clear, melodic voice, The Voice spoke,
May God be with you, and may you never cut your hair. It’s beautiful.
Caught off guard, I fumbled for words and responded with an “aw, thank you.”
I wanted to reply, I learned so much while listening as you precisely recited each sacrament and hymn, but the mass continued, ending our face-time.
We knelt for communion. I quickly searched in my purse for a J⁴ angel. I had just one, blue, matching the color in the stripes of The Voice’s bucket hat. It was meant to be.
Leaving the pew, I placed the angel on The Voice’s praying hands. Kneeling on a prayer bench behind me, she opened her eyes, looked at the angel, and didn’t say a word. I could feel the peace we shared as I exited the sanctuary.
As my week continued, I heard The Voice. I heard her confident yet labored singing voice transition into her soothing speaking voice. I heard her heartfelt words. I believe from here forward, The Voice will aid the awkward pauses when I’m searching for someone to greet.
Our actions and words have the power to bring peace. Let’s be more like The Voice, being precise with our words and not worrying so much about what others think. Who knows what impact we may have on the world by putting our kind words out there. It doesn’t matter if we’re sharp, flat, tone deaf or out-of-tune.
It matters more that we’ve got offering peace down pat.