Happy mid-July everybody! As ever, the summer is going by very quickly. The kids are home, and we've had to develop a summer routine of sorts, which I talk about in this month's CatholicMom.com piece, if you're interested in such notions. :) I'm also in heavy dance rehearsal mode for the summer festivals coming up. We have a few new group dances that we're polishing up, and I need to pick music for a solo. I should really get on that, shouldn't I? 😬
...I'm back, I actually deviated from this post for 10 minutes to pick through music, ha ha! I have a few ideas, but I need to solidify that. For festival solos, I don't stress about music selection so much. Anything upbeat and fun will do, 3 and a half minutes or less, if you please! I'm just praying that it's not sweltering hot and miserable, because we have 2 long days coming up at the end of July, and also one in the first weekend of August.
In other July news, I am currently #1 in the waiting list queue for How God Hauled Me Kicking and Screaming into the Catholic Church. Assuming the person who currently possess the book only borrowed it for 1 week rather than 2 (please God), we're good to go for Summer Book Club next Thursday, July 19th!
Hope springs eternal. I *really* don't want to ask you guys to wait another week, so I'm hoping to have the ebook in my virtual hot little hands within the next few days.
I also promised a Great Crafting Obstacles update, and here it is!
There has been progress! *online high five* I finished Anne's Little Lighthouse pullover for the fall:
I also cast on for the first of the 2 school uniform cardigans, and since it's knit with bulky weight yarn, it's going very quickly. Hopefully I'll have another update soon!
It's been a lovely summer so far. It's certainly been a year of reflection and growth for me, and the summer has only advanced that. I have an amusing anecdote to share in illustration...
This past Sunday morning, Henry was scheduled to serve at the 8 am Mass. I often ask Mike to take him when he has the early slot like this (Mike is a much earlier riser than I) and then Anne and I go to the 11 am Mass. But Henry was going to be serving alone for this particular Mass, and I wanted to be there to support him. We had all attended a local minor league baseball game the night before, and thus got to bed later than usual. Come 7 am, I blearily rolled out of bed, and decided not to wake Anne. She had another full day ahead with a birthday party to attend, and swimming at my parents' house, and I knew she needed her rest. Her regular night of sleep was curtailed the most out of all of us.
So Henry and I readied, and Anne was still not awake, so we departed just the two of us. I got Henry there nice and early to set up, and settled into a pew. I was EXHAUSTED. Like, could hardly keep my eyes open. And my seasonal allergies were not helping.
Right before Mass started, an usher hurried to the front of the church, looking expectant:
"We need some volunteers to bring up the gifts. Who would like to volunteer?"
He looked around, super eager, all dapper in his suit and tweed bow tie. Given that I was by myself, I did not volunteer. When Anne and I have attended the 8 am Mass in the past, we always volunteer together. Well, not a single other soul volunteered. And the usher looked crushed. So I volunteered, and he looked relieved.
Mass started. We had a visiting priest that day, from an African mission. The deacon was also in attendance. When the collection started, I was on alert, awaiting my duty. I was tired, and wanted to be sure not to miss my cue.
I see the ushers deposit the collection money into the sealable bags in the back, and then head up the aisle. This is the time that they approach the small table with the gifts, and then we all proceed together up to the altar. I hustle over, carefully pick up both the chalice and the dish with the not-yet-consecrated hosts, and walk solemnly up to the altar. Do you want to know what happened then, good and gentle reader?
Right. I was up there alone with the priest, deacon and Henry, still seated, all looking at me quizzically. I got a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was a second collection, and the ushers were going about that, nowhere near ready for the gifts to be brought up.
See, we don't often have a second collection at my parish. It's not a regular occurrence, and thus my brain just did not register this as a possibility. Granted, the lector had made an announcement that there would be a second collection that day for the visiting priest's mission, but I had simply forgotten. An honest mistake, but all the same, I was now in a very uncomfortable pickle right up in front of the entire congregation.
I was mortified. I'm a self-conscious person in the best of circumstances, and now I have the entire, somewhat stoic, populace of the 8 am Mass wondering if I've lost my mind:
"These young people and their newfangled ideas!"
I didn't really have a lot of options at that point. I had to stand, as gracefully as possible, to the side of the altar and wait for the ushers.
Luckily, the deacon caught my eye and came to my rescue. He prompted the priest to proceed up to retrieve the chalice and hosts from me ahead of the offering basket, and just go about their business preparing for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. I obviously need to bake him something, or buy him a drink.
After the Mass, the adorable usher came up to thank me for bringing up the gifts, and I was still in a mental frenzy of horror and beating myself up:
"Gosh, I'm so sorry, I completely forgot about the second collection and jumped the gun!"
Bless him, my Hero Usher looked shocked and offended that I had even mentioned this alleged "offense.":
"Oh heavens, you did your job! No worries. You volunteer and pitch in. So many people here cannot be bothered to ever help out at all." With this, he straightened his bow tie and cast a narrowed eye at his fellow senior citizens.
He made me feel better, to be sure. And it caused me to reflect on something much deeper within myself.
I'm a people pleaser. I want to make everybody happy, and do everything right in my quest of this goal. I am far from perfect, and I need to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly as a result. But one quality about myself that I relish is kindness. I always endeavor to be kind, I have tremendous empathy for others, and I want them to feel at ease. I will throw myself under the bus to make other people comfortable and feel accepted. Always, always, always, I have been this way, even as a young child.
This all sounds warm and fuzzy, right? Well, as you all probably know (because you have these qualities too), it gets you into trouble sometimes. Despite your good intentions, sometimes you do not do everything right. You make mistakes. You misread a situation. Your timing is off. To take it to a deeper, but related, level: You trust people and ignore red flags when you should be more discerning. You get taken advantage of. You get hurt.
This is all pretty philosophical for bringing up the gifts at Mass too early, right? 😂But it was an important conversation to have with myself. Just because sometimes I make mistakes, does that mean that I should no longer volunteer to help out, no longer trust in, and be kind to, people? Of course not. Can I endeavor, though, to be wiser in my decisions and in my reading of situations so as to avoid these types of painful situations in the future? Absolutely, yes.
After all of that exhausting physical and emotional activity, I collected Henry, went home, and drank coffee on the couch in my comfy clothes for a full hour. I also knit and watched Christmas in July movies on the Hallmark Channel because I have no shame in such matters.
All right, friends, your turn. Have you ever had a Moment of Mortification at Mass? How do you deal with feelings of self-consciousness, with recognizing your own strengths and weaknesses? Age has helped me to be more discerning, but MAN, do I still have a lot to learn in such matters! I would love to hear your experiences as well. :)