You know it’s a bad day at Mass when...

(9) The usher tells you that he’s been inspired and is going to call his mom when he gets home to thank her for putting up with him for all those years.

(8) In describing what took place during the offertory, you use the word “headlock” in a sentence.

(7) Calories burned during Mass via the trips to the bathroom equal or exceed the value of a Dunkin’ Donuts Boston Kreme.

(6) At the sign of peace, you get a lot of pity handshakes from fellow parishioners.

(5) The woman behind you says, “Someday you'll miss this.” and you think, “Not any time soon.”

(4) Kneelers. Toddlers. Echoes. 

(3) Going up the aisle for Communion, a child wails, “When is it OVER?!”

(2) You stare in wonder at all the well-behaved children and have the eerie thought that the reason you get this battle is God knows this won’t deter you from showing up next week. 

(1) Every one of these things actually took place within the span of one Mass. 

Finally, when Mass is over, the kids ask, “Can we get doughnuts?” and my first response is something between “No, nay, never, no nay never no more,” and “Are you kidding me?”

We trudge to the parking lot to discover there is a black Acura parked in the fire lane trapping us at the church hall for the next hour. The bumper sticker on its window says, “Choose Civility.”

Everyone here had to work to get to Mass.  I know calling the police seems somehow against the spirit of the season. So the kids get to have doughnuts after all. It seems that I should offer it up in sublimation because all of these little problems are merely a grain of sand in a great desert.  All I can really do is sigh and say man, sublimation sometimes just really… well, it doesn’t stink, but man, does it have to be this hard? 

Unbidden, it hits me that in the end, when I see myself truly and acknowledge how much I misbehave in this real life, I should be grateful if God is kind enough to still let me have a doughnut when all is said and done, and peace settles into the heart of all of us over the final opening of my stubborn heart and the sharing of the last Boston Kremes.