A six-day week school followed by The Sabbath didn't help my case of love for sleeping in. Needless to say 'the church-aunties', whose favorite time pass involved correcting other's children, were never too pleased in me. (Nor was I with their preaching and their butting in, but that somehow is not a good enough reason for some to abstain from doing the right thing.) So a couple of years ago, on one of those days when I had turned up late to church (as usual), just as I was getting out after the service, the heaviest and most virtuous of the church aunties came up to me and asked "What made you late today?" blocking my way to the door.
"Err... I... I had to... ..." and I gave her some made up excuse, which I guess only did to get her displeased with me further. So she didn't budge from that spot, disappointing me in turn.
"You know what happened to that 'so and so'... " she started, narrating a sorry tale of some loser guy, who according to her was being punished for his disrespect for the church (implying I assume, I better discipline myself or prepare to get doomed.) I nodded at appropriate places while trying to come up with the best response that would get me out of there. To my surprise and utter disppointment, our priest, who had overheard her narration and guessed what this was all about, decided to join her in mending me. "Great! Now I am stuck here forever.." I thought, taking a deep breath in and slumping my shoulders in resignation.
"These children, they've never closely seen a properly contented, pious christian's life..." he said in a matter-of-factly manner "My grandmother used to pray five times a day as per our original church teachings of those days..." "that's how I grew up, watching her get up in the middle of the night to say her midnight prayers..." "And that's the only way we can get the message to our next generation, leading by example and being an inspiration... not with words..."
"Yes yes... action speaks louder than words" she contributed, eager to please him.
He smiled for an instant, a calm priestly smile and before finally adding "So why not you focus on your prayers the coming Sunday, instead of checking who's on time and who's not..." with a slight trace of the smile still reflected on his old weary eyes and with that left me alone once again facing this quite lost aunty, (still not budging one inch) trying to make sense of what just happened.