I set the alarm late in order to sleep in, but my internal alarm harbors other intentions. I wake at the normal time but not in my normal, well-rested manner. Instead, I am panting from a dream of running across a church parking lot that is packed with cars. I’m frantically searching for my own vehicle so I can speed out of town to another church where a bride and groom are angrily awaiting me to witness their marriage vows!

My pillow is missing. I glance at the alarm clock, then roll over and go back to sleep. When the alarm rings an hour later, I slap the snooze button and immediately relive a continuation of the earlier dream: I’m still in the parking. An elderly parishioner waves at me from the steps of the church. She needs assistance but I don’t have time—I’m running late for a wedding after all!  Nevertheless, I locate my car hunkered behind a dumpster, then dash to a convenience store to buy the woman a cup of hot chocolate to drink until I get back from the wedding. But the dispenser at Dairy Mart only lets me fill cups half full. And the place is crowded. And I can’t get anyone’s attention. And there’s a cat glaring at me from the counter.


I sit up and place my feet on the floor. Shaking my head, I rub my neck and envy folks who merely dream about giving speeches in their underwear. Eventually, I get up, visit the bathroom and return to bed.

When the alarm rings again, I am in a sacristy ruffling through a vestment closet. All the albs are too short for my height, so I grab a too-long chasuble and keep tripping over it as I run up the aisle. The congregants are murmuring, rolling their eyes and throwing angry glances my way. Nevertheless, I’m determined to make up for lost time. I’m determined to make everything right. But I fumble with the tabernacle key and people are lined up to receive communion. I grab my cell phone and call the sacristan. She finally arrives with a key that works. But inside the tabernacle, the ciborium is empty!

Yes, empty!!

I reach across the bed and smack the still-buzzing alarm clock. My heart is pounding. My stomach is churning. And my pillow is still missing.

Across the room, sunlight illumines curtains pulled across the window. I hear the chirp of a bird.

I scratch my head and take a deep breath. Time to get up.

05 / 03 / 2024
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