Life In The Bubble

On two separate occasions this weekend — on Friday evening and again on Sunday morning — I found myself in deep discussions with fellow parishioners about life inside “The Bubble.” I had heard people talk about “the bubble” (lowercase) before to reference our neck of the woods: the small(ish) communities of St. Michael and Albertville, home to lots of good all-around folk. But I hadn’t realized “the bubble” was actually “The Bubble” — and has come to mean, more specifically, the thriving Catholic communities in which people still have big families and pray the rosary and make it to Mass on Sunday (and any other time they can).

On Friday, I spoke with two other men about venturing outside The Bubble to work each day, the stuff going on “out there” we can’t stomach or abide, and the challenges this poses to our faith and sanity (not to mention our employment). On Sunday, the topic was the insidious encroachment of the outside world into The Bubble — the impossibility of shutting out the world entirely, and how best to manage the slivers of darkness that pierce the iridescent dome and seek to pop! it.

Sounds almost Amish, doesn’t it?

Then on Sunday night I had a dream, in which I was floating on a rubber raft of some sort in the twilight, while gathered around me were various coworkers from jobs past and present, none of whom I ever got along with particularly well. It was a meeting of sorts, except we were adrift, and I was the target of insufficient direction, unwarranted criticism, and a couple of disturbing come-ons. By the time I reached shore I was livid…and (this being a dream) got on my black and gold Huffy Challenger 3000 bicycle and headed straight home.

Home, in this case, was my childhood home on Littlefield Lake, which was a blissful place to be a boy. I rode back to old neighborhood, but, since I was still quite angry, circled the block atop the hill that sloped down to our house and the lake, blowing off steam, knowing my family didn’t deserve the brunt of that bizarre meeting. It was a damp spring day, and the roads were muddy — it must’ve snowed recently, because although it was warm and the grass was greening, along the shoulder of the roads were piles of wet snow a snow plow had kicked up.

Finally I headed down the hill, thinking I would have to push my bike through the heap of wet snow at the end of the driveway. But when I turned the corner, a number of friends from “The Bubble” were shoveling our the end of the drive. My CRHP brother* John M. was there, laughing and throwing snow at the other workers; our dear family friends Butch and Laura were there, joyfully lending a hand; Jim V. from the KCs was there; and more.** They shouted greetings and waved me through. In the garage, Butch and Laura’s oldest son and Bren were conspiring to avoid shoveling and go fishing instead.

It is a comfort to come home each evening to a community of faith and stability — with like-minded people who know where you stand and what you aspire to be. Last night at Adoration, while praying the Third Joyful Mystery, the Incarnation, it struck me: The Word Made Flesh isn’t just the Christ child born two millenia ago; it’s the Body of Christ working in concert here in this world, today, to bring about the Kingdom of God. I’m glad to be a part of it.


* Christ Renews His Parish retreat
** These names are important because they represent the spectrum: a number of fellow Catholics I know in very different ways…

8 thoughts on “Life In The Bubble

  1. Hmmmmm, zat eez veddy interrestink. You have A “bubble”, you are adrift on a raft, a lake, a spectrum of Catholic friends (rainbow), snow on the path and snow in your driveway, and boys conspiring to go fishing…there's a lot to do with water in that dream. Water = life, right? My guess is that you are just really involved in purifying your life and sorting out the bad from the good. OR, you and Jodi are just really obsessed with me and can't get my awesomeness out of your heads. You're welcome. 😉


  2. Dream?? Sounds like a typical weekday to me….leave the “Bubble” and head to work ….working the beads on the way usually praying with special dailey intentions…

    Drift around throughout the work day trying to help where you can…. amidst the criticism, misdirection and people that sap the life out of you.

    Just to return home to the “Bubble” to get recharged with the grace needed to do it all again another day. No wonder why we love the weekends sooooo much! No wonder why we cling to brother's in Christ that actually inject life back into us! Call me anytime you need your driveway shoveled…

    HIS Peace be with you Always Brother!


  3. I had the opportunity today to present a lesson on the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to a group of College Aged kids who will spend the summer trying to teach the same material to the youth in the various parishes in the diocese. One of the images I used seems to correspond with your own:

    While studying Spanish in Mexico, I was encouraged to visit the village of Tepotzlan. It was near Ash Wednesday, and the area held an annual massive Carnival celebration. We arrived early while the crowds were still thin, but as the day progressed, the streets became filled with more and more people until finally, as my comrades and I attempted to make our way toward the bus, we found ourselves struggling in a sea of people, shoulder to shoulder, pressed tightly against the backs of the people in front of us, and with the crowd behind pushing us along. One could go neither right nor left. One could only follow where the crowd led.

    The Church is like the massive crowd, winding its way toward heaven. At the head stands Christ leading the way with the banner of his Cross, and behind in solemn procession follow the whole communion of saints. They lead theway. We are crowded in with all the others trying to get to where they are going, and behind us are all those who have also found their way into the church. This mighty throng keeps us on the narrow way. They prevent us from slipping to the right or left, and when times are hard, the crowd behind is too massive to turn back. We have only one way – forward. We must go where that crowd is taking us.

    I find it a rather comforting thought.


  4. Pingback: Amazing Grace of Motherhood | Archangel Stomp

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