i sit in the back pew, left-hand side under the light so i can read my magnificat - meditations before Mass and readings during. i like being back there. it's my own private idaho.

the light has been burned out so i've had to move forward (save for thursdays, which we have already discussed since i now lead the rosary and help Monsignor during communion). it is *okay* being closer to the altar, but i prefer being back in my pew, by myself.

i know, i know. selfish woman.

so here i am, reciting the rosary and really pondering in between hail mary's the descent of the Holy Spirit this morning and this woman i know from church, who sat by me yesterday, flounces in and sits by me again.


she is very sweet. nice girl. she is a bit more neurotic, prays too fast for my liking, little spastic during the Our Father and i don't wish to hold your hand and then raise it at the last part, thank you very much.

what the **** is my problem?

i am a Christian, right? love thy neighbor? why can't i be all sorts of communal without taking offense? am i that selfish? am i that closed off to everyone that i wish to remain on my raft, drifting toward God, all by my lonesome?

i am annoyed with myself for being like this, i truly am. i ask God to change my heart during Mass, but right after services, do i march myself back to the sacristy and plead with Monsignor to *fix my light already* (did you catch that? my light!!) he checks his armpits to see if my problem with being too close to the altar may have something to do with his hygiene (i love this man :) and chuckles and shows me i've been throwing the wrong switch. *doh* the light has been fine.

just about to leave and who walks in but the gal who's been my new best friend for the last two days. she joins in the laugh about hygiene and then quietly says to Msgr., "sir, i need to speak to you for a few minutes, if i may..." and it didn't seem like she wanted to discuss the lighting situation at morning Mass.

and how do you think i feel about her right now? when i left there, my heart was in my throat over my selfishness, my self-centeredness. she is struggling with something that is *real* and i am struggling over my *wanting to be alone in my prayer time* (go ahead and roll your eyes if you want - i did...)

God, i hate that in me -- what is it? pride? self-absorbtion? stubborn refusal to want to *blend* in?



Julie D. said...

I think we all struggle with that sort of thing ... I know that I may spend a good part of a Mass sometimes praying, "Lord have mercy on me and bless them" over people nearby who are driving me crazy. But we all begin over and over again, right? At least you noticed and are repentant ... and willing to start again. As one of my favorite quotes says ... the soldier who falls down and then stands back up again to fight is the most valuable.

C. Fish said...

I am not sure what it is.. I've found myself the same way in our old church.

During worship some of the cries of some of the girls in the room, seemed so dramatic and so 'overdone' it was embarassing and made me feel a bit cross or uncomfortable.

We went to a charismatic church, and some of the wailing and such just seemed like such a show I found myself being overjudging of those doing them. I tend to like quiet prayer times and that is probably another reason this church didn't work out for me.

I am not sure if it's pride or arrogance, or simply a desire for that privacy and solitude during something so sacred.

Prayer is so sacred and can be so very private, like a personal conversation with God or Christ.

I understand, even though I have no wisdom. :)

Essy said...

Hmm...let's see...it sounds like this woman was sent to you to help you 'remove your bandages'...only you can determine what those are though. I wrote just today about how some of the people He sends our way don't always appear to come across as friends...but they are there for a reason...mostly they point out to us our own frailties.

~m2~ said...

i know there are *sandpaper* people and *velvet* people in our lives - from a devotional i read many years ago that has stuck with me.

the sandpaper people are used to sand away your rough spots, as in polishing a diamond. they are irritating, annoying, there for good reason.

the velvet people (like my friends, here) are in your life because their words are soothing. make you feel better, feel loved.

while neither is more important than the other, both are extremely necessary for our growth.

i think i was just sandpaper to the clerk at eckerd's drug store. i just came from the doctor's with 4 rx's in hand because i have a sinus infection, bronchitis and perhaps viral asthma (probably real asthma, truth be told...) i went in the incorrect drive-thru because i am not a regular customer (if memory serves, it's mainly because the rx clerk is cranky; note to self, take the longer drive to cvs...) needless to say, she made me feel like the biggest, most foolish sh*t that ever walked the face of the earth because i went in the wrong way - the *pick-up* side, rather than the *drop-off* side. so sue me.

i said "i am very ill, i didn't read the signs as i just had tunnel vision in getting my prescriptions dropped off. i am truly sorry."

Lord, have mercy on me and bless her.

(julie how do you say that without gritting your teeth??)

~m2~ said...

omgosh, essy!

look at this thread and then i cut and pasted for your enjoyment (and anyone else who might enjoy a chuckle at my expense) the VERY WORDS i said in one of your posts, either yesterday or the day before:

that is excellent, essy! it's confirmation that we all need *community* - i am always to be the one in the way back pew, but lately, He's been calling me forward to be with the others. we need others to help us on our way to wholeness.

God, i wish i could highlight the words: *we need others to help us on our way to wholeness*

did i really say that???


physician, heal thyself.

Julie D. said...

I have found through much experience that "Lord have mercy on me and bless her" even works through grinding teeth ... because if you don't think I get madder than a wet hen at this sort of thing then you are very wrong. However, about the hundredth time, your jaw loosens up a little! :-)

Isn't Essy so wise on all this? Love it!

Null said...

Oh Martha.... I can relate truly.

As the Fish said, some of the girls in the church we went to were like that.. very loud and obnoxious really. It was amazing, there were two of them who stood out to me, equally loud, but only one of them grated under my nerves.

I chalk it up the genuinity behind the words and actions as to whether it grates under my skin or not.


Essy said...

LOL...yep, I noticed that...He is working something out in your life big time...I love it. I hate the 'messyness' of it all...but love the outcome.

I have those 'sand paper' moments alot myself, I wish I was 'velvet' but I'm very aware that I can irritate others to no end as easily as I can be irritated. The worst interactions for me are those with the receptionists at my doctor's office and with telemarketers...haven't quite figured out what that is all about though.

Oh well...God is good.

Rebecca said...

On an entirely different note... I really like the new picture P! You look so happy.

david said...

what pleasant friends you have posting ... you must be very grateful ... thanks for your prayers ... i made it through **the process** they took ALL of my blood out and gave it back … (lemon scented) sort of ... i am extremely weaker than before but still can't sleep again! ... i had an few ideas about this post ... i hope its ok to blog them . . .

fish said... the cries of some girls seem 'dramatic' etc. ... i suspect that they ARE overly 'dramatic' and 'overdone' ... a HUGE obstacle for me too ... BUT if they’re 'acting out' some level of insecurity/need for attention (likely) there are few places better to ‘get/do’ that ... alternatives are bad ... a person in my life with similar needs has for years had them temporarily fulfilled by a variety of men … there is little hope that this behavior will help her ... but, if liturgy teaches us anything it teaches us that our repetitive spiritual practices (perhaps even those we don’t like!) over time may help us actually 'find our way' ... it can be a sh*ty path but at least we’re on it … like i said it GRATES me too …

the quiet thing … my journey lends toward silence, reflection, contemplation, reading, praying, listening … like all of you have said … (i’m talking to myself at this point) . . . . however if i routinely fashion ‘things’ after my preferences i am condemning myself to my own opinions … and that’s unhealthy … this has been a hard lesson for me but somehow it seems those interruptions are our appointments with God ... like calendar items that HE puts on the day’s schedule ... WITHOUT permission … and that is very hard for me to surrender to …

it seems we ultimately find ourselves not independent of other people or institutions but though them … we discover who we really are face-to-face and side-by-side with others in work, love, and learning . . . all our activities go on in relationships, and in ‘community’ (in the bible that’s the same word as the Eucharist!) … the recluse and hermits never did go into isolation to ‘get away’ from others like i prefer too … in fact permission would not be given to a recluse/hermits unless he/she had already mastered deeply loving people … i would be disqualified . . . (like i said i’m sort of reminding myself not scolding you) . . . God’s peace :::

Analogy said...

I like your comment about sandpaper and velvet.

Sometimes we get different grains of sandpaper too. Some of them are more rough than others and have to be for a reason. Sandpaper is a tool of a carpenter.

Someone used the example of a diamond, but you could also use a table top, sanding it down to a sheen, a soft velvety feel, like a carpenter does, so that when he runs his fingers over top of it, there are no splinters.

Hmm. Who do we know that was a carpenter?

Philothea Rose said...

I alos love the velvet and sandpaper analogy. It opened my eyes to the attitudes I sometimes take on with people wh "annoy" or "bother" me. Thanks for a great post.