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Last night I dreamt of Liturgy.

Recently my priest got a haircut and beard trim. Trim is perhaps a conservative word for it. A trim is what’s required for an average neighbor’s yard in the suburbs just after a small bout of spring rain. Andy Griffith gets a trim from Floyd the barber. Father John had a full on makeover. I had to ask my pal, Toni, who the visiting priest was the first Sunday I saw him after the cut. It’s strange how so small a thing shifts perception.

Last night I dreamt of Liturgy and in the dream Father John looked the way he did before the makeover. He was turned away from the congregation, bidding us to “be attentive” and I was attentive, for a while, then I turned to see the people standing around me and realized I recognized no one. A profound sense of loneliness crept into the dream, because dreams are like that for me- emotional, tangible, so real sometimes I cannot tell if I am still asleep.

Knowing that I’d be missing Liturgy for the next two weeks is probably what brought on the dreaming about Liturgy. It is like knowing that I won’t be sleeping in my own bed or knowing that I won’t be able to eat the food I like best because it’s sold out, or that I’m out of coffee and have no way to get it. Or maybe it’s not like any of those things, it’s hard to explain, knowing I’ll be missing something that has become a sort of bedrock practice.

When Dave misses a workout he feels it all day, he feels the lacking, the space it leaves. His muscles experience a loss, an unmet expectation. Because of his health issues, working out is not vanity or addiction, it’s lifespan. Cardiac, blood pressure, blood sugar- they all depend on his workouts in conjunction with his stress management and diet. When I miss Liturgy I feel it all day, I feel that lacking, the space it leaves.

It’s strange how a small thing shifts my perspective.