Sunday, July 27, 2014
Day 16 of 100 Days of Good Karma.
At my former-vanpool operator’s invitation, I went to mass today.
(Wait. Do you hear that? That’s my mother cheering in California.)
I sat with Paul’s family and participated in all the Catholic rituals I could remember.
I felt like the worst kind of hypocrite. The kind that the priests of my childhood used to lecture us about: Catholics that only goes to church on Easter or Christmas or when life deals them a shitty card and they pop in to ask ‘why’.
After more than sixteen years, I was pretty rusty.
I remembered to dip my finger in the holy water when I arrived and left, and I remembered to genuflect before sitting in the pew.
That’s where my memory broke down.
When the priest said “Peace be with you”, a habit deeply ingrained from childhood demanded that I respond with “And also with you” but everyone else around me said something else.
Other things were different, too. Two words: alter girls.
I fumbled when the offering plate was passed around.
My mom was raised Catholic. She was always prepared for the offering plate, pressing a dollar into my hand when she sensed the time approaching. She would never have been caught off guard by the offering plate. Last night I wished she was sitting next to me so she could tell me what I was supposed to do next.
I stood, sat, and knelt at all the right times, but only because I followed the cues of those around me.
One thing was the same: The sense of a community. It filled the high ceilinged room.
Afterward the mass ended, I hung around the parking lot to talk to Paul and his family.
“I’ve forgotten so much,” I told them. “All the words were different!”
I was relieved when Paul told me the words of the mass were recently re-translated. “I still have to look at the book sometimes,” he said.
This made me feel better.
Paul invited me back next Sunday.
Maybe I’ll go.
Today’s silver lining: Doing something that scared me. And a good friend by my side while I did it.
Thank you, Paul. Even though your name is really Phil.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!