I've been in a bit of a slump this week. A funk. Sloggy and a little sad for no particular reason. I've spent a lot of time on my couch, wondering which of the following might make me feel better: a nap, making a healthy and delicious dinner, vacuuming the stairs, taking a walk, playing with baby, writing. And since exactly none of them seem like they'll make me feel that much better, I stumble upstairs, opting to try the nap, since it requires the least effort.
Yesterday was a weird day, particularly in the morning, and in the afternoon Sam and I went out to run some errands. On the way home we listened to NPR coverage of the presentation of the new pope to the world. Sam was driving, occasionally shouting at the reporters for pinheadedness, and I sat in the passenger seat, looking out the window, feeling sloggy and still not sure why. I had wanted to tell Sam all sorts of stuff about this and that, but I was quiet so he could listen. It was good for me to be quiet. Sometimes I forget that we're both in an interfaith marriage, and this was an important moment for him, one that deserved my silent respect, even if it was tinged with grumpiness.
Mostly, the reporters did a great job of evoking a scene halfway across the world. The throngs of people in the rain holding brightly-colored umbrellas, the white smoke snaking up into the sky, the Swiss guard carrying their pikes. We were on route 3, waiting for the new pope to step out onto the balcony and greet the world. And the moment when he did step out was exciting. The choice took the reporters off-guard completely, and it was amusing to hear them fumble and imagine their researchers scrambling.
If I'm honest, this didn't feel as sweet and memorable yesterday as it did this morning, when the baby woke me and I fed her, and realized that I was beginning to feel better, that the slump was slipping away. The baby and I took as long for that feeding as we wanted, utterly unrushed. She even fell back asleep in my arms, and I held her until she woke up again, thinking while she slept of yesterday, and what that must have meant to Sam.
Does this ever happen to you, that something is only lovely in memory? That maybe you were on vacation, but you were hungry and your feet hurt, so it was only later when you were comfortable and home and wearing your PJ's that you could think of the Louvre or the beach in Hawaii and feel the magic of it? I think this must be okay. I think this must be what memory is for. To make meaningful what may not seem meaningful at the time.
Because that was a lovely moment: speeding along the highway, our baby asleep in the backseat, and Pope Francis greeted a cheerful mass of Catholics in Rome, and millions more Catholics, wherever they happened to be.
Welcome, Pope Francis. It's a good world.