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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

No Time to Say Hello, Good-bye!

I've always enjoyed that rabbit in the Walt Disney version of "Alice in Wonderland" and his little song about being late, late, for a very important date.

I am an on time freakazoid.

I know this because one of the seventh grade boys told me so. Although, I wouldn't have come up with the term "freakazoid", I do have a 'thing' about being on time.

I'm kind of happy about this word "freadazoid", though, because it explains my uber awareness of punctuality. Nuns are punctual people. It just goes hand in hand with obedience and humility, that you show up on time so that other people don't have to waste their time idly waiting for you.

Now add to that, my mother who raised me was raised by nuns! Imagine how punctual I am!

When I was small, my mother didn't drive and we often had to rely on others to give us a lift, like Amish people.

That was a little joke. There are some sort of Amish people around the area where I grew up and they don't have phones or cars but they are happy to use your phone and have you give them a lift.

And we are happy to oblige.

At any rate, my mother would have us sitting there like little soldiers a full half hour before the ride was due and even then when the ride arrived we had to dash out the door so as not to keep them waiting for a millisecond or give them a moment's pause.

To this day, "on time" to me means at least 15 minutes early.

So you can imagine my reaction to today's question from a reader:

Okay, I have a saint-matching challenge for you! Every Monday night before choir practice we pray as a group (of course!) and we end with asking St. Joseph (our patron) and St. Cecilia to pray for us. Last night, in reaction to all the empty seats at start time, the director asked, "Who's the patron saint of tardy people?" Sister, who is the patron saint of the chronically late...or the perpetually prompt for that matter? Is there someone who could intercede on our behalf and get the alto section to rehearsal on time?

I think I have sucked all the air out of the room.

Are all the altos coming together in one car?


There is a patron saint for promptness but sadly, he didn't exist. Have you heard the story of St. Expeditus? Have I told it? Yes, I have.

So, I'm not so keen on him. St. Handlewithcare. St. Thissideup.

If I were you, I'd go with one of those strict disciplinarian types. You know the kind I mean. The guys who came in to 'clean up the town'. Some friar or priest who took one look at the shabby, lazy state of the local monastery and laid down the law.

St. Benedict. As in "The Rule of St. Benedict". He's your man. His rules are still directing religious life after 15 centuries. He was so strict the other monks tried to poison him.

That's pretty strict.

I might add, however, that it may be more than a simple inability to get out the door on time with these folks. We can't be sure. We can't accuse.


They might just be trying to skip out on the prayer part of choir practice, figuring, "I'll pray on my own in the car on the way there and that way I still have time for dessert after dinner." Although, anyone in their right mind would be saying to themselves, "I'll tell the family I can't be a second late for choir practice and then I can skip out on doing the dishes." That would be the smart move.

Anyhow, you might think about a saint who had an issue with praying. St. Hyacinth is relatively obscure, but she was a pistol for a while there. Hyacinth had her heart set on a beau who chose her younger sister to marry. Poor Hyacinth was so chagrined that she joined the convent, not because she had any calling of any sort, but just to hide her embarrassment. There, she had a fancy room and a really expensive habit made of the finest fabrics. She had people call on her and give her money.

Still, through it all she was actually a woman of faith, and one day when her confessor actually got a load of the room she had set up for herself, he mentioned to her that perhaps she ought to dial it back a bit.

Hyacinth saw the light and dialed back to minus zero. She got rid of everything, wore an old habit and no shoes. She fasted and prayed and performed such mortifications of the flesh that her first miracle was that she was still alive.

She might be a good one for you.


Mary333 said...

I'll have to print this post for my mom. The family joke is that she's going to be late for her own funeral :)

Claudia's thoughts said...

For me, on time is also fifteen minutes early. It is either my German genes or I have undiagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Behavior.

I get annoyed when people who are suppose to be on time are chronically late. It gives me the feeling that they feel that they and their time are more important than you and you deserve to wait for them.

I have solved that issue and just do not make appointments or plans with the chronically late people.

I also will not go to a doctor who makes me sit for hours on end in his/her office. They REALLY think they are more important than the average person. My PCP will have me in the office within 10 minutes of my scheduled time and out within a half hour.

Kaczobek said...

I am puzzled, because the Saint Hyacinth I know is not obscure, at least in Poland, but is also a male.
So were there two of them?

Debbie said...

My motto: If you're not early, you're late!

Tami said...

I tend to be the late person. Not so much because I think I am so much more important than others, but rather I have a hard time cutting people off. For example, if I'm talking to someone who is having a hard time, I cannot just say, "Sorry, gotta run." Do you have suggestions for getting out of these situations so you can be on time, without making the person asking for your help feel unimportant?

Sister Mary Margaret said...

(in reply to Kaczobek, above)

Actually, I can think of THREE of them. In addition to Hyacinth the Polish priest, there was a 3rd century martyr, and Hyacinth Mariscotti (the female St. Hyacinth - an Italian, like me!) There may be others, and if so, perhaps the other faithful readers will respond.

Maureen said...

Timing - it defines us, doesn't it? My mother was just like your mother. My father, when he was speaking to me after my wedding, said "Your mother and I were very nearly LATE - we only got to the church half an hour early......"
I am an absolute stickler for punctuality.
So the fact that my husband is ALWAYS running late has given me lots of opportunities for Offering Things Up.
I can't cure him - it's the way he is, and there's nothing to be done about it. If we have a plane to catch, I creep in and wind the clock forward before he notices.

Anonymous said...

Those of us who tend to run late just have a poor sense of how long it's going to take us to get where we're going. And
we think the always-prompt
tend to be self-righteous whiners.

sarah said...

my nuns ARE punctulality freakazoids!
not long after entering (that's nunspeak for "joining the convent") we invited some of our sisters in neighbouring communities to come for dinner. We told them dinner at 6 and so I jumped in the shower at 5:30 with, what imagined to be plenty of time to ready and was horrified at 5:35 to hear the doorbell ring. One lot at 5:35 and the other two were in the door by 5:45!
In my life up until now "dinner at 6" meant "you should arrive by 6:30ish" but this is a whole new world!
And when they say "we'll leave at 8am" what they mean is "we'll be out on the highway by 8 so you need to have your bum seated by 5 minutes to 8"
I entered about 2 and a half years ago and am coming up to taking first vows soon and there are still many, many days when i think "These are a truly weird mob!"