How Alarming

When Mary and I started planning our wedding, we arranged to get married in a church in her town. As a prerequisite for getting married in the church, they asked that we attend a pre-marriage counseling retreat that helps to prepare couples for the challenges of their pending nuptials.

So we packed up our stuff and headed out to the retreat. I didn’t have a watch at the time so I borrowed my mom’s travel alarm clock – it was small and fit in my pocket.

There were maybe a dozen couples there, and the sessions were led by a youngish priest, and recently married couple, and another couple that had been married for quite a while. For each of a series of topics, the married leaders would speak about their own experiences and the priest would speak about the Church’s position. Then, they’d give us a handful of questions and sent us back to our rooms to discuss them. After 30 minutes or so, we’d all return to the main room and talk about our answers.

There were some good topics, and some such as finances that some couples were clearly better prepared to face than others.

And then they came to the topic of sex.

Now, the leader couples and the priests had been trading off the order that they spoke, and by luck or design it fell to the young priest to tackle this one first. He stammered a bit, no doubt because of everyone in the room he was probably had the least direct experience in the matter.

As he struggled to express his thoughts, my pocket alarm clock suddenly decided it was time to start ringing. And ringing. And ringing. I had a difficult time of it, but finally figured out how to shut it off.

And suddenly the priest wasn’t the most embarrassed person in the room.

Once the laughter died down, the leaders continued their commentary. The priest even thanked me for the interruption, and decided maybe a similar occurrence should happen every meeting for that topic.

I’ll leave you to think up your own “alarming” pun.

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