I haven’t seen the inside of a church in over a year. I have good reasons though. I’ve spent the past three hundred and sixty-five days wiping ass and cleaning faces, stacking packs of batteries, my cell phone charger, my tampons and the last minute shreds of my dignity onto our kitchen counter just so tiny toddler hands don’t stuff any of these things down a tiny toddler mouth.
It’s been a fun year.
So no, I haven’t been the best Catholic, but I still remember church (and that’s saying a lot considering I frequently forget to put on a bra. Needless to say, our mailman was tipping me this Christmas). It goes a little like this: a cool stone floor click clacking beneath sharp-ended high heels, the sitting, the kneeling, the standing. The taste of fermented grapes first thing in the morning (breakfast of champions). The sound of me yawning.
This is isn’t what you want to hear. You want to know the intricacies of my Bible Study group, the color pants Peter wears and the way he taps his pencil against his knee when quoting the Gospel of Luke, the way Bethany insists on always bringing a cheese ball even though she knows I don’t do dairy. You want to reach inside my chest and read my heart with your fingertips, placing the exact location Jesus lives within me. Hate to break it to you folks, but we’d be here awhile.
I think sometimes I’m broken. There used to be a little girl named Ericka who knew what a novena was and would pray it not like it was a novelty, but because it was the truth. She gave up TV for lent when she was eight and closed her eyes every time she walked through the living room and could hear a cartoon jingle on the set, attempting to lure her in with bright colors and one determined feline chasing a mouse. She was woven deep within her parents, her grandparents, and the absolute knowledge that there was life after the present time. She wanted to breathe deep each moment because there was nothing regrettable about being small.
And now? Now I think too much about money. I think about a larger house, my name in lights (or on the cover of a best selling novel). I certainly don’t think about church, about the standing, the sitting, the kneeling. And the only time I crave fermented grapes is when my daughter’s asleep and my world is still and I relish the moments I can feel large in my own little world.
But then she wakes early in the mornings, my daughter. Dawn’s light stretches its golden white fingers through her bedroom blinds and I see a face that used to pray the novena, used to close her eyes to noisy cartoons and would thank God for the people in her life that strengthened her soul and lengthened her spine.
Maybe we’ll stop by Sunday.
Today I hold still
To balance and recharge,
To release the week before
And prepare for the week ahead.
With You here beside me,
My mind quiets to hear Your voice.
My heart opens to draw You in.
And, with Your peace
within and around me,
I thank You for this opportunity
to be made new.
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