So, yesterday I blogged about going back to church.
I would love to tell you I “felt something” at the Mass, but I didn’t, not yet, and maybe not ever.
But some things happened that were significant. Other than when he had to spend the time with his family in the pew at the actual Mass part, my 8th grader stayed glued to me and no one seemed to find this odd. He arrived and headed to the pew with his family, settled them in, and then made a beeline to me until the Mass started. We talked quietly. After it was done, right back to me as his family socialized with several different people. When it was over, I made nice. I said I was well when people asked how I was, and people did, in that superficial way. I was not shocking.
Okay, at one point I said, sotto voce to my 8th grader I hoped the church secretary, who had betrayed me, didn’t come over. She didn’t. I said I would have a hard time not starting any conversation with her with, “Did you come to get your knife back?” He found this hilarious of course. He doesn’t know exactly what happened, but he’d also put things together, eventually, and come up with the same answer I did: she was the Judas in this story.
One of the Spanish-speaking parishioners, one of the few who attends English-speaking Mass, came up to me to chat afterwards, just glad to have someone who could talk to her in Spanish, I think. We hadn’t officially met, but she introduced herself and we talked and I introduced her to my 8th grader and his little sister, who had come back to bug him because she was bored with the waiting around. My friend who had given me advice back in the beginning of all this and told me to get a job just like the one I got was there, too and she was happy as was her husband to see me back. They were thrilled I got a job where I brought nothing home with me. She told me I looked much, much healthier. At the end, we talked and laughed with Father. It was as if I’d never left.
I did notice this later morning Mass has dwindled. There are now really more people at Spanish Mass than there are at this one (before it was a tossup which had more people, and it would depend if you could count all the kids at Spanish Mass since there are so much more of them). They will eventually need my help to volunteer to be able to do things, and I’m one of the bilingual people there. But now, I can compartmentalize better and help a little, but then just go home. Also, any of the old-time gossip that goes on in that place won’t affect me in the same way. It’s kind of funny now, since it’s not a financial decision when they gossip and it blows back on me. The generation that hated me has either left, or continues on like nothing happened. Father may have proverbially set fire to the church (and not in the “burning for Jesus’ love” kind of way), but the people who remain seem over things a lot faster and less bitter, so it’s making things less difficult for my return than I thought.
Whatever happens, I’m back now and I have the spoons to go. That in and of itself is considerable progress. And I can help the church continue to tell its story, for as long as it ekes out its existence there.