Thursday, July 11, 2013

Shhhhhh!

Some Sundays I feel like I am saying that (shhhhh) more than "Amen".  Some Sundays I would much rather just stay under the covers.   Some Sundays I can't believe from the way my girls are handling themselves, that we actually go to Church every week and that they go at school as well.  Some Sundays...

Before we moved back to the city, we had a hard time finding a parish.    My FF is either working or just coming off shift two out of every three Sundays.  And it seems like if there will be a PNB, it will be a Sunday morning, which means lots of time lost waiting for the ME and paperwork and... So, two out of every three Sundays I am taking the muppets to church, alone.  O was 3, D was 5 and the boys were embarrassed.  I cried on Sundays, down there.  More than once I was told that the crying room might be more appropriate our family. I know there was judgments being made with my FF "suspiciously" absent from mass.  I know my kids were out of their comfort zone looking around them, taking in new scenery.  I know...   How will they learn to behave in church if they are never allowed in the church?  UGH!! Jumped from parish to parish, hoping to find a home.  And it was horrible.  I felt, alone and like an outsider.  Exactly the OPPOSITE of how I should feel after leaving mass.

Last summer, when we moved back to the city, I started looking for something on this side of town, I had no idea what was down here.  There is a parish literally three blocks from the house - how cool would that be. I had this Mayberry image in my head of walking to Church and walking home and making breakfast with my pearls, apron and heels.  Except there is only one mass in English and most of the Spanish I know has no place in Church. Soooooo, that was clearly not going to work.  And then my lovely FFW next door and the retired teacher on the other side of us, invited us to mass at their parish.  And one Sunday, a few weeks after we moved in, we tried it.  Just me and the muppets.  I have to have an 8 o'clock service when I go alone.  O has had breakfast and is not yet on her way to mid morning munchies.  She also hasn't hit her full stride yet, so she is still rather sublime...until the end of mass. D is starting to really enjoy Church, but not necessarily quietly.  B gets a kick out of  instigating  with his sisters and N, well, he enjoys church, but is embarrassed by their shenanigans. I need to keep all of that drama to a minimum.  4:30 pm on a Saturday is right in the middle of their drama filled swing.  10:00 and Noon require food to be distributed for snack and lunch, so 8:00 it is.  And I  get them up and out the door by 7:30am, all by myself. Usually they are properly dressed - except for last Sunday when my FFW gal picked up O to hug her...and to my shock and horror, there was nothing under her skirt.  <sigh>  Yesterday I was very clear in the requirements for undergarments when I laid out their clothes - they must be included in the wearing for mass.  <smh> 

Our Basillica is indeed the most beautiful church I have ever seen.  Built through the blood sweat and tears of the Polish neighbors at the turn of the century, using hand me down building materials from Chicago's post office and Customs House, it continues to be a cornerstone of the community more than 100 years later.   It is truly breath taking.

But, pretty pictures don't make a church - the people and the priests do.  The people are amazing.  We are always getting compliments on how well behaved the muppets are.  They are so warm and so welcoming.  I absolutely love it.  And if I had any doubts, they were all answered Easter morning.  Daddy came off shift and joined us - still in his uniform.  My foot was only a couple of weeks post-op.  And the homily slapped me in the face.  I don't claim to speak as eloquently as Fr. Alejandro, but when he said something to the effect of perhaps it time for us to tone down the memorization and evangelism (and he made reference to this being the Year of Faith, and was unsure how this message would be received) and instead LIVE our message and let THAT be our evangelism.  Don't preach the Gospel, but live it.  Reach out to those in need and truly strive to live a Christ like lifestyle.  I melted and teared up.  I had recently been told I was doing too much of that and not enough of the other, and here, Father Al told me I was on the right track. 

I knew I was home.

Now, you are asking, "Where the heck did all this come from, lady?"  Well, I'll tell you.

Facebook, the modern version of telephone, does have some bright spots, especially in the blogosphere.  A friend of mine posted a letter to parents of young children regarding their place in the church.  It came from a blog called I am totally *that* mom. And it spoke to me.  Just as the kindness of the strangers who have become my family in faith, who reached out to me those first few weeks, this post will reach out and encourage families to go to church, to attend mass.  Your muppets will learn through observation what is proper and what is expected of them.  Your church will get the joy of watching your kids grow in sooo many ways.  And your family can begin their faith journey.

I am not here to preach, I was just so glad to read that I was not alone in my apprehension.  Especially seeing as this life doesn't let my firefighter spend much time with us actually in Church.  

Moral of the story, no matter where you are in your journey through life or your faith, meet people where they are.  Don't expect them to be at the same place you are.  Don't expect them to have the same ideas as you.  Simply take a look at who they are and smile.  Truly, meet them where they are, because you are just a traveler as well.  None of us have yet reached our destination.

Have some fun with those kids today, love on your FFs no matter how much they are bugging you and know that the weekend is almost upon us.

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