It is the time of year that I receive a phone call from my mother asking me to join her at church. She used to ask me more often, but I suppose she tires of my answer. No, no, no, I do not want to go.
But Sunday it is Easter and it would earn me great brownie points to dress up in something brightly-colored and stand with my family in the pews of their church. They would feel so happy to have all of their children there, their family now together under the roof that my grandmother helped establish, and which they now hold.
I will stand in the church while they sing their praises.
Stand like I would before a mirror wondering where all the babyfat went. Peering closer to the reflection to examine my eyes, my eyebrows, noticing now that they are grown and unkempt, seeing new pimples, admiring the curve of my lips, the shape of my jaw… seeing myself, and not myself. Wondering, who is that that I see?
Only a few years ago I stood in pews every Sunday, every Wednesday, every day that the doors were open, I was there.
Just a few years ago I was with them, this congregation, raising my hands and singing along to the teleprompter, giving my worship to God, fully believing that he was up there to receive it, but now…
I look around at them and wonder what they’re doing. Why they’re doing it.
I cannot describe the feeling of being there, seeing it, something that I once was but now am not.
Cringing when a woman starts to wail SHEEEEEETAMAITIHITAHITAHI!
and the church quiets, to listen to her, to Him, to God, and the preacher translates, giving us The Word,
and I am not sure…
The other day at the bar I heard a woman joke about going to church this Sunday, “Every Christmas and Easter, like a good Catholic!” she says, clinking her beer to her partners.
I cannot simply punch in my salvation like a clock-in card.
I was there. I was there, here’s the proof.
I am convinced that I consider the state of my soul more than those of faith, yet… I am ostracized. Exiled, but I’m the one who left.
Navigating the desert like a nomad,
the Dark Woods,
but seeing things differently now.
Things are so much different now.