Monday, March 24, 2008

Philippians, You Say?

When asked if I would be willing to give a reading at my mother-in-law's recent funeral mass, I had no qualms. Of course. Anything I could do to contribute to the celebration of her life would be an honor and a privilege.

I wasn't particularly worried about reading a paragraph of scripture to what would surely be a large but loving group of friends and relatives. After all, most of these people I have known or known of for many years. It was my plan to read the passage a few times in the morning before the mass and that would be ample preparation. No worries. Right?

Enter my prankster brother-in-law. As my mother-in-law's wake began to wind down, he mischievously cautioned me to not mistakenly designate the reading as "A Letter From St. Paul To the Filipinos". I assured him with a twinge of irritation that I was well aware that Paul was addressing the Philippians.

"I'm just sayin'. You just might get it twisted", he warned. Eyes twinkling.

"Thanks for the tip. There is no way I could make that mistake", I humorlessly huffed.

After collapsing that night in the hotel bed, I was on the verge of drifting off when the thought of the word Filipinos flashed thought my mind. Filipinos. Philippians. Philippians. Filipinos. Filipinos. Filipinos. Filipinos. Philippians. Philippians. Philippians. OK, Leigh. Stop thinking about this. Oh dear God. Filipinos, Philippians. Filipinos, Philippians. I might actually hose this thing!

I was panic stricken for several minutes before I talked myself out of my brain short circuit. Thankfully, the need for sleep prevailed. But I awoke in the morning to the distinct memory of a dream in which I aimlessly wandered in Vallejo, California, from one nondescript restaurant to another, increasingly distraught because none of them were serving Lumpia or Chicken Adobo.

My brother-in-law doomed me. My fate was sealed. I was going to flub-up this thing. (You can use your imagination and replace flub with another expletive, if your mind goes there. Believe me--mine went there!)

Well, I didn't. Flub it up, that is. By the grace of God.

My husband smiled as I read to the crowded church,

"A reading from St. Paul to the....(slight pause) Philippians."

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone; the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that piece of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus. Finally, fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise. Keep doing all things that you learned from me and have been taught by me and have heard or seen that I do. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4: 4-9)

Philippians or Filipinos. Mexicans or Moldavians. Any way you shake it, Millie was smiling, even chuckling, I bet. I can hear her now...

"It's fine Leigh, OK?. It's about what you're saying, not about being perfect, OK? And that swearing, it's not the first time I've heard it, OK? Just say flub, if you can..."

Got it Millie. I got it.

Apparently, there really is no need to worry. Or curse, for that matter. Both are habits I can do without.

Life goes on. Flub-ups and all.


fr. sunny said...

Hello, Leigh. This blog cracks me up! And for the record, that mistake actually happened before: Philippians, Philippines... Incidentally, both places are named after two different Philips from two different eras: Philippi was named after King Philip II of Macedon, while The Philippines was named after Philip II of Spain. That explains the similarities. :)

Anyway, here's a shoutout:
Mabuhay, Philippines. :)
Mabuhay, Millie.
Mabuhay, to us all.
(mabuhay is a blessing to life!)

happy easter!

mum6kids said...

Or St Paul to the flippants as my son said once- LOL!
Glad it all went well.
God bless