For months now, at some point in the service, Sarah will close her left eye and then gaze at me intensely with her right. Then, in a slow cadence that I think must surely belong solely in the realm of oracles, she will pronounce, "God has blessed you."
Today, the oracle spoke before the service began, just before May was brought to our circle. May is very reserved and modest, so I am surprised to see her dressed in a bright pink hat and a deeper pink floral blouse and pants. Her very spring outfit was particularly striking against the back drop of pumpkins, cardboard autumn leaves, and other Halloween decorations. I found myself immediately throwing out anything I ever thought I knew about the logical progression of the seasons. Here, in the midst of autumn I found spring blooming. I could not help but exclaim, "How beautiful you look!" She smiled and whispered "thank you," the only word I think she ever speaks aloud.
Later, just as I am about to give the benediction, Rita walks in from her time spent with the Catholic lay minister who comes every month to give her communion. As I raise my arms, she comes immediately to my side, gives me a warm hug, and laughs her robust laugh. I keep my left hand lifted, and place my right arm around her. She puts her left arm around me and raises her right hand. "Let us go forth knowing God gives us the gift of friendship." Rita echoes me. "And let us go forth knowing that God gives us the gift of love." She echoes me once more. It is one of the rare moments when I wished someone was there to take a picture. It would surely be a fine portrait of the ministry - two of us arm in arm, laughing and claiming our blessings, blooming unexpectedly in this time of our lives.