I didn't know until I saw something worrying from a mutual friend on Facebook that made me send an urgent message. "Is he ill?" The answer, devastatingly, was yes; very.
Near the end of my run this morning, I noticed a small sign by the steps of the meetinghouse around the corner from Nana and Pappy's that read:
All Saints Episcopal Church
I thought of my friend, a choirmaster devoted to the Anglican liturgy, and crept through the open door. I slipped into a seat at the back just as the second reading began and closed my eyes, letting the rhythms of the scripture wash over me. I stood with the small congregation as they chanted the Apostle's Creed and bowed my head during the prayers of intercession. When I opened my mouth to join in singing the doxology, I found tears streaming down my face.
After the service, the priest welcomed me and introduced myself. He glanced at my wet cheeks and red nose and took my hand. "Can I offer you comfort?" he asked. I smiled at him shakily and replied that I had found all the comfort I needed in the service.
As I walked back home, though, I wondered: how often do we need to hear that? And how often should we be the ones offering it? More than we admit for both, I think.