The cap'n is back at work which means I am stuck in another hotel room in some little backwater town. Actually, this little Northeastern Colorado town is very nice and I don't really consider myself "stuck" here. To tell the truth, I love exploring new little rural towns. I relish poking around in their antique stores and pawn shops, driving their back roads, and sampling the home-cooked fare at their diners. It reminds me of where I came from. Although this town is in Colorado, the Northeast part of the state is closer in resemblance to my home town in SW KS than the mountainous part of the state that I live in now. It is charming with its town square and its three story courthouse surrounded by coffee shops and antique stores that have supplanted the former businesses that were the lifeblood of a community in the last century. Stately homes with fresh mown lawns and flowerbeds bursting with roses and delphinium populate the oldest part of town.
I also love to poke my nose into old churches, especially Catholic ones since that is also from whence I came and I still have that lingering Catholic fear that I will be struck down with lightening should I dare to darken the nave of a church of another denomination. Besides, old Catholic churches have the prettiest stained glass windows. While I love to poke my nose in and maybe even kneel for a while in contemplation I rarely, like never, attend services any more. Because I am a Dee-Vor-Say. A remarried Dee-Vor-Say that refuses to annul a former marriage that produced three children just so I can say I am now married in the Catholic Church. So the church that was the touchstone of my childhood and young adult life has judged me not worthy. Sure, they say I am still welcome, as long as I don't partake of the sacraments. The same sacraments that I have been taught since childhood are crucial to my admittance into heaven. Am I bitter? No. Because I have a much closer relationship with my God now that I don't have the guilt and fear instilled by the Church. Sad? Yes. Because I do miss the spiritualism and mystic of the mass and the communion of souls gathering to share in a common belief. Oh, and I miss the music. I can sing me the "Hell" out of some Catholic Hymns.
Anyway…After I dropped the cap'n off at work this morning at 6:30 am, I went for a walk around one of the town's parks, with a detour through one of the "stately homes" neighborhoods. Then I headed to Mickey D's for my first sausage burrito since returning to the mother land. I decided to drive around the town while I ate my breakfast. I was passing St. Anthony's Catholic Church (also the name of the church in which I grew up) just as the sun was starting to chase the morning shadows away and I knew the stained glass windows would be at their loveliest. There were several cars parked out front but I thought, "What the heck." I choked down the last of my burrito and went in. Mass was in progress and I fell to my knees on the kneeler and fell right back into the ritualism of my formative years. Even though I was enjoying the familiarity and comfort of being a part of mass, I had no intentions of receiving communion. To me, marching up to that altar and receiving that thin wafer still brooked hypocrisy and earned me a mortal sin to further blight my already blemished soul. All of a sudden like a shaft of sunlight piercing the jeweled hues of the stained glass, I remembered a dream I had last night. In the dream I was receiving communion. (I swear on my all too human and damaged soul that this is the truth) I don't remember the circumstances but I do remember the nervousness and the clumsiness I felt as I partook of the sacrament. They were the same feelings I was feeling now. Of course, I took it as a sign and I did what I haven't done in almost 20 years. I walked up to the altar just like I belonged there and took that sliver of bread from the priest.
I wish I could say I felt a great peace or sense of wonder afterwards, but I really didn't. I find it ironic that the last words the congregation recites before they all file up for communion are, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed" and then "the Church" has the nerve to go ahead and "play God", so to speak, and decide who is worthy. The "church" may not deem me worthy, but God does. And so do I. I don't need a priest, or a piece of bread to substantiate that. God has forgiven me and I have only to forgive myself. I am worthy.
Uh-oh! That damned burrito! I didn't fast one hour before receiving communion! Now I really am going to Hell.
So today I'm out there doing my best to revel in my worthiness and find me some fine home-cooking that I deem worthy of my very worthy appetite.
P.S. I apologize for going on a rant about religion but I think the concept holds true for drinking also. Some people are going to judge your past and deem you unworthy of their time or affections. Some people are never going to forgive you. You can't let what they believe or remember about you, become you. You are worthy of the blessings of good friends, good love and a good life if you do the work. Don't forget it and don't take it for granted.