This post is not intended to inspire a religious debate about theory or beliefs, rather than one woman's observations about a ritual that was once a big part of her life.
I decided to go to church yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised when the entire building did NOT disintegrate and fall to the ground. That a large, dark, black, rain cloud did not suddenly appear above the church and that lightning did not strike me down, as I feared it would.
Let's just say that I haven't been to Sunday Mass in a few years, so the fact that I decided to go at all came as a complete surprise to me. I casually threw out an open invitation to come along to the family at breakfast, but was looked upon with horror. Somehow I knew this was going to be a solo mission.
Inspired by my Jewish girlfriend, who (she is dating a "Christian") called me Saturday to tell me that she had gone to Mass and "liked"it, it led me to think about what there was to like at church. Armed with this piqued curiosity, I went to Mass like the "masses" in my town who attend regularly. Upon entering there was music-beautiful, joyous music and singing. Parishioners are invited to join in the singing, as the page number for the hymn is posted for all to see and the hymnal books are at arms reach to your seat. Immediately I was struck by the calm and the quiet. Despite the fact that people were singing and little kids were crying and screaming, I felt a peaceful calm wash over me.
After much sitting and standing and the reciting of prayers that I once had commited to memory, the daily sermon began. It was quiet and I was calm, and had a relaxed feeling I had not experienced in a while. I was at ease and it felt good. I prayed to myself, I sang, if I wanted to, I listened to the sermon, if I wanted to, and took from it what I felt was important and I kneeled before God.
Seated behind me were an elderly couple who hardly registered on my radar until the time came for the ritual offering of peace. As I turned to offer my hand, I witnessed them turn to each other and say, "I love you" they then sealed it with a small kiss. I offered my peace, and turned back, my heart filled with the love I had just witnessed, my smile impenetrable.
I left Mass feeling calm and at peace, resolved to TRY to come back once a week. I decided that church will be that one thing I do for myself. A time for me to collect my thoughts and reflect upon what's next. A time free from cell phones, text messages, computers, email and TV. A time free from screams of "MOM" and barking dogs.
A time for me alone, to experience peace. A time of quiet reflection in my head, where only I can judge and seek answers.