This afternoon, the doorbell rang at the rectory. The offices are closed on Sundays- no one's in on duty to handle doorbells and phone calls, because the staff on Sunday are usually running around doing other things. But the truth is, even if someone is around on a Sunday afternoon and the doorbell rings, we are prone not to answer. It's because if we are in the rectory, it's because we taking a break or grabbing a quick bite, or because... well, you just never know what you'll find when you answer the door at a rectory, off-hours. I usually don't answer if I'm there because I don't know how to do some of the things that people come to the door for (like getting a Mass card or whatever) and I don't like to answer the door when there's no one around to ensure my safety. I know, it sounds mean to leave a doorbell unanswered, but often, people who reach past the "CLOSED" sign to ring the doorbell can be... scary. A priest in our Archdiocese was stabbed in the eye several years back, answering the door at off-hours- I know, right?? It's just... risky. But today I was having lunch with Scott and one of the priests was also in the building, and the doorbell rang... 6 times. I decided to risk it and go to the door.
The first thing I could see, below the mail box, was that whoever was there had his pants tucked into his tube socks. It was too late to turn back at that point, though, so I opened the door to an old man who had two shopping bags in his hands, and a stack of grocery store fliers. He had a big smile, handed me the flyers (couldn't decide how to spell that, so I went with both) and asked to come in. I said I'd be happy to take whatever he had to give me but didn't invite him in, but he pretty much insisted.
So I let him in, and he put the bags down to sort through them. I realized that this is the man who brings random grocery items to the rectory door a few times a week- the housekeeper and office manager know him well now. He handed me a bag of cough drops (because, he said, they're good to have now that it's getting cold out!) and then a box of mac and cheese. He said "oh, women love this stuff!" Then, he reached in and handed me a package of English muffins. He said "these are for you and the priest." I said "how nice of you to think of us!" and he said "Well, I'm a Roman Catholic. And as they say, everything counts. It takes a penny to make a dollar, and one prayer counts too." He combined his other items into one bag and said to himself out loud, "I'm so happy." I saw him out and he said "now, I want you to have one of those English muffins, maybe with some jelly!" and I promised him I'd have one.
I am so glad I answered the door. I think it's possible we made each other's day- he was so happy to give, and I am so blessed to receive.