A few weeks ago, I went to Mass for the first time in a long time.
I say "Mass" instead of "church", which is my way of still identifying myself as Catholic, even though I list Planned Parenthood on my Facebook page and can't understand how any Church would restrict 50 percent of the population from its highest ranks (and I think God would be the first to say that the Church wouldn't be in as big a mess as it is in if it had some women among its leadership).
Why did I go?
Well, who really knows why I have done a lot of the things I have done recently.
My life is in shambles, which I suppose is as good a reason as you can have to attend church.
I was in my hometown, and I love the church I attended in my youth. It is such a beautiful church. It reminds me of happy days, and of some sad ones, too, like when my beautiful friend Autumn died--a friend who once sat next to me in the pews.
Being there reminded me of a time when my biggest worry was whether the oh-so-cute-boy from across town was going to be there, or if he had attended the earlier Mass. (You would have wanted to sit next to him, too--I am talking Hollywood-gorgeous.)
Oh, what happened to that girl ... did she ever really exist?
If she had only known what was in store for her, she would have prayed a little harder.
While I sat in my old church, I thought about all that I have experienced since that day, more than thirteen-years-ago, when I walked down the aisle at the age of 21.
What happened to THAT girl, and those dreams? Did they ever really exist?
The priest I knew and loved as a teenager has since left the priesthood--a sad loss for the Church, but a blessing for the woman he married. I was glad to see, though, that the priest who is now there was well-spoken and interesting, even if nobody can hold a candle to Father Larry.
I am ashamed to say that I was not familiar with the scripture that day--because I am not familiar with scripture as a general rule, may God forgive me.
But I can remember what he said about the person who was the subject of the scripture--how he had been given an amazingly important responsibility, one he did not expect, and one he was not certain he could handle.
The priest talked about the unexpected difficulties of life, and how God does not promise anything to us with regard to our days on Earth. He said that life is a lot like driving down a very dark, unfamiliar rode. Your headlights give you just so much help, just so much guidance--but even with the strongest lights, there is only so far you can see in each direction.
Man ...... no shit.
Are my headlights even working?
I am traveling down one very dark road. My son is disabled. So disabled that today, at the age of seven-and-a-half, he hurt himself by falling from a shelf he had no business being on--and he could not even begin to tell me what hurt.
I sat and held him as he cried. I clung to him and wished I could absorb the pain.
I wondered how in the world I could ever have been entrusted with this responsibility.
I never expected it.
I still am uncertain I can handle it.
But I have no choice.
Because I am a mother.
And may God shine a little light my way.
Because I sure as heck need it.