Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Churchgoers
I'm convinced my church is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. After my husband and I got married and moved into our home, we "shopped around" at the churches nearby. It wasn't a hard decision to pick one and become parishioners there. One of the reasons we chose OLV was because it is absolutely gorgeous, and I wanted my kids to have something aesthetically pleasing to look at every week, especially when they are too young to grasp what's going on.

Another reason I wanted to go here was the size - it's huge! Not just physically, but the attendance as well. A part of me wanted to belong to a Church where everyone didn't know each others' business. Where we could just go to Mass and focus on our family. And not worry about people checking up on us. Because, as we all know, once you start going to the noon Mass, everyone expects to see you there and thinks ill of you if you don't show. God forbid you catch an earlier or later time. Or the vigil (oooh the horror!).

But that's not my focus here. My observance today (at the Noon Mass, by the way. Where were YOU?) was the humor in people's attitudes. I heard a saying that people behave like Christians, but only on Sundays. And even then, only until they try to leave the parking lot. But I'd go a step further and say:

Ain't it the truth, though?

Though we live very close to the church, I insist on leaving early to grab a "good seat" - which for us, with a one year old, means near the back. The seats in the back fill up the fastest, especially the ones near the aisles. People claim those seats and hand them down to their descendants in their wills. My husband always teases me about sitting there, but that's because he has never had to carry a squirming child down the main aisle in front of hundreds of people. We just duck in the back and save ourselves a lot of embarrassment. It's a shame we even have to feel this way. I mean, you'd think people attending Mass would be the most understanding when it comes to issues like this. The child's being restless? Oh, well the parents are doing their best and at least they're bringing the kid to church. Nope...instead it's, dirty look here, loud sigh there, and evil stare...evil stare...

Before we had her, we did sit in the middle and/or would be be happy to move in near the middle if people came in after us. Nobody has (yet) asked us to move in recently, probably because they see us with a baby. They usually glance ahead at the pews in front. That's where the comedy starts. The church-goers already in their pews suddenly become very territorial over the 18 inches of wood their little duppas are sitting upon. They become very focussed on anything else...If I don't see you, you won't see me. 

Sometimes it works, sometimes not...and when they are asked to share their, the nerve. Silently though visibly annoyed, they scoop up their purse, their missalette, and their bulletin that they were clearly reading, and move down another 18 inches. It's absolutely horrible. Now they're stuck. Till the end of Mass, or whenever this new person's ready to go. Heaven forbid this new person tries to exit the parking lot first. Now things really have gone too far. Know your place. 

Of course I'm dramatizing things, but if you've ever witnessed this, you know there's not much need for exaggeration. As far as finding the positive in this weekly occurrence, I suppose it calls for a dose of patience and humility. We've probably all been late to church at least once in our lives, and we've all been annoying as well. We can try to be more understanding and kind when other people aren't perfect. Especially in church. :)


Theresa said...

Maggie, I love this entry. I am so happy that you keep your faith with you at all times. I have a VERY difficult time with the concept of going to church, but it's so lovely to see that you and your family are there for the very most important repeatedly recognize, and cherish your undying faith, as well as to become part of a community without having to divulge all of your business. Bravo on finding a comfortable place of worship. :)I rambled in this comment, but you know where I come from. ;)

Rachel said...

hahaha this was really have a great writing style and I love your commentary. ;P

Maggie said...

Thanks guys, and Theresa - ramble away! There are many other reasons I love our parish, and I am really happy we've been able to find a good one. It's a real gem!