Friday night was the first opportunity of this year that I had to attend Stations of the Cross.
I always try to attend Stations during Lent. It's hard. It typically starts at 7, and my shorties go to bed early and by Friday - well, I'm wiped out. But it's something that is important to me, something that has meaning and value - and I really need to get out of the habit of trying to avoid the tough stuff. Make it my Lenten offering, if you will - do something hard.
So I planned, all day, to get us to Stations on time, To have dinner early enough - and my shorties wanted to make dinner, so that required additional planning. (They'd taken a cooking class and in that class, made Hoppin' John and wanted to make it for dinner for the entire family. Which was great and awesome and so cool, but kids in the kitchen means more work for the Mama, and I right?) I could not remember if the service started at 6:30 or 7, and so I pulled up the website for the church.
The area for Stations of the Cross said 6:30, and underneath it, in small letters, read First Friday Mass.
And I read that and thought, Coolio. I remember from past years, I know that on First Friday, there's a mass. I'l try to remember that for this year.
Totally and completely missed the fact that this particular Friday was the first Friday of the month. In my defense, I knew it was Friday - which is a big step for me - don't all of the days run together for you? I find that some days, I have to repeat to myself over and over Today is Wednesday. Wednesday. Wednesday.
My kids stumbled their way through dinner - the shorties super thrilled that they'd made dinner and enjoyed two bowls, while the older kids decided to make sandwiches for themselves - and all of a sudden, it was time to leave. I was wearing jeans and a t shirt, and all day old makeup and hair and we were running late and so, I just tossed on a hoodie and zipped it up and thought, No biggie. It's not like it is a Mass or something. It's Stations, it's 20 minutes, and we will be home.
As I walked into the lobby, the head Sacristan met me. She asked if I would be the Sacristan for the Mass - Mass? What Mass? Is today, oh no, really? - and I turned her down. I'm not dressed properly, I said, gesturing to my jeans and sneakers and hoodie. Just keep your jacket zipped, can you please do it, I've done four masses already today
and I reiterated that I wasn't dressed correctly, nope, not gonna do it, and I went to my seat. And then I started to think, and felt guilty - four masses! She's been here since 7:30 a.m.! - and so I left the church and went back into the foyer and told her I'd do it - if it wasn't too much work. She was happy to hear this and told me that all I'd have to do was one teeny, tiny , inconspicious action and that was it.
I went back into the church, sat on the opposite side of the church from my kids, trying to get the message to them with wide open eyes and discreet hand gestures, and then it was time to do my one part - and zipping my hoodie all the way up to cover my Harley Davidson shirt, feeling extra self conscious - I don't dress like I'm going to the White House for Mass, but I always dress nice for Mass and this felt super awkward and I was really self conscious - and I did my one part and walked back with relief and a certain amount of Well, that wasn't TOO bad, glad that's over and done with...
And then I realized that there was actually a LOT more that I was supposed to do. Lots of information hadn't been shared - things I probably should have known, being that I've gone to Mass every week since, well, forever, and should know what was going on....
And one of those things meant that I was standing, at one point, on the altar with the priest - while everyone was kneeling and then it became further evident that I was also expected to distribute communion
an act for which I was TOTALLY unprepared and totally self conscious about, being that I was not dressed appropriately - in my mind -
and then I realized that, hello, it's not all about me. Do a service and do it for others and don't worry about what other people think of you. Just do what you are supposed to do and don't worry about what other people think, already.
Being humble and not making yourself the center of attention is so much work - and something I still need to work on
And I think, with a certain amount of trepidation, that until I get this lesson down pat, that there will be many more opportunities to learn grace and humility.