Monday, August 10, 2009
I went to church for the first time in almost twenty years yesterday. My friend Susan invited me to come along with her family to help ease me into the first time and so I wouldn't feel like such a newb. The word "neophyte" comes to mind but seems a bit pretentious to actually use, no?
So anyway, it was SO FREAKING DIFFERENT than I remember.
Memory - Old, dark building with lots of wood (hard pews, paneling, etc) and dark paint
Yesterday - Bright, white room with CUSHIONS on the pews.
Memory - Long, rectangular room with the altar at the narrow end so that if you sat in the back, you didn't really see what was going on.
Yesterday - Long, rectangular room with the altar in the center of the long end, so that every seat was a good one and you could really pay attention.
Memory - Lots of little statues of santitos surrounded by candles, incense, and crying, praying nanas.
Yesterday - Yeah, didn't see those.
Memory - Musty, incense-y smell.
Yesterday - just smelled like a regular building.
Memory - Hymnals in the holders on the backs of the pews, if you were lucky.
Yesterday - Hymn lyrics projected onto the walls.
Memory - The only people who sat up front were the nanas all in black clutching their rosaries.
Yesterday - WE sat up front, LOL!
There were two priests. From what I understand, the younger one was new. While he was preparing the Eucharist HE TOTALLY FORGOT THE WORDS!!! He all of a sudden paused, got a big grin on his face, and says, "I always forget this part!" The older priest had to come up behind him and tell him what to say. He grinned like a fool though for the next ten minutes or so.
I have to tell you, I'm really glad that happened. Not that he had to go through that, because I'm sure it was super embarrassing, but because it was a reminder to me that NO ONE is perfect, and we're all learning and growing and it's okay if you screw up every now and again. Even if it's something that is important. You just have to have a good sense of humor to get you through.
There was one itty bitty concern that I had though. See, I never went to catechism and I never did my first holy communion. Since I never did those things, I don't take communion in church. I never even went up for a blessing. I just stayed in my seat in the back, and I've always sat in the back.
Well, remember when I said that the seats in the back don't really offer much of a view? Yeah. I kind of had an idea of what happened when you took communion, but I had never actually seen it up close. Dude.
EVERYONE DRINKS FROM THE SAME FREAKING CUP Y'ALL!!!
I don't know if I can do that. I know that sounds incredibly dumb, but I don't even like to share a straw with my husband and we've had a child together. Again, incredibly dumb, but that's just the way I am. It used to drive my mother nuts that I wouldn't drink out of the same cup or straw as her. But to put my mouth where hundreds of other strangers have just put theirs? Immediately thoughts of colds, mono, viruses, herpes, etc enter my mind. Not what you want to be thinking about as you take communion, right? Ugh.
Other than that slightly horrifying realization, it was pretty good. I took the baby with me and he was very well behaved. Afterwards, we had dinner with Susan's family and he got to try some lo mein noodles. I'd say that over all, it was a success.
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