Thursday, January 20, 2011

"It made me feel like a good little C@tholic."


I was being slightly sarcastic because, um, I'm not C@tholic, I'm a Meth0dist. But at the same time, it gave me insight that I'd never really had. Matt's family is (mostly) C@tholic, so I've gone to mass with them before, but there ends my forays into that particular church's practices.

However, this past weekend I prayed a rosary. And accidentally took communion at a C@tholic church. But I'll get to that...

Matt's fantastic grandmom, Martha, passed away last week. She was 83. We got to see her on New Year's day, though, and that hour with her was worth every second of the 7 hour round-trip drive to and from Mary Alise and Michael's house, and worth every penny of the ~$44 we paid in tolls. We broke out the ip@d and showed her pictures of her newest great grandchild, little Alexis R0se, born the day before, on New Year's Eve. And we got to spend time with Matt's aunts, too.

When we spoke to her, all I wanted to do was hold Grandmom's hand. So I did. When we told her that "we were in the area" so we came to see her, she quipped that she didn't think three-and-a-half hours away was exactly "in the area." Her mind was absolutely sharp as a tack. But she was tired. And in pain. She planned out her entire funeral mass, down to the last detail. Monday evening there was a viewing, during which we prayed a ros@ry. Earlier that day I was given one of Grandmom's ros@ries. She had, oh, probably at least a thousand of them stashed around--okay, maybe not a thousand, but definitely hundreds. Some made of plastic beads she had made for her prison ministry, some of glass beads and some of wood. They found a lovely blue ros@ry that also had information about the origins of the ros@ry and was kept in a plastic & lace case. It's what I held onto as I listed to everyone pray.

For the funeral mass, five priests/fathers/monsignors lead the service. There were at least ten others--I think they called them Eucharistic Ministers--were in attendance as well. The homily was wonderful. I thought it was pretty great that Grandmom instructed the priest to tell jokes. He said he couldn't bring himself to tell actual jokes, but that he would make us smile. He did.

I have never met anyone (including my own Granny, or any pastor or priest, or any friend or worship leader) with more conviction than Grandmom. She was SO dedicated and SO giving--I think I could write for days about all of the things she did. She flew to Fatima like 27 times. She started a prison ministry. She learned how to play the guitar so she could go to seminary--they required that you know two instruments, and she only knew one. I might be slightly off on some of this, but the take-away is that she gave and gave and gave. She was very matter-of-fact and decidedly a product of another time in our history, and her faith was not a mustard seed--it was the fully blossomed mustard-seed plant, the biggest bush in the garden.

I will never forget the first time I met her, and she made us dinner, and we folded napkins to put into the programs for a service. I will always remember how the word "Fatima" sounded when she said it. And, although it's sad that she's no longer with us here on earth, it makes me smile to think that she finally got to meet her Maker face-to-face. I am also so grateful that I got to spend time with her, that Matt made a point of introducing me to her as his girlfriend rather than his fiancee (and proposed the next day!), that we got to see her at Thanksgiving, and that we drove up to see her on New Year's Day. I am thankful I got to know her, and thankful to know she is at peace.

Oh and, because I thought Grandmom would like it, when the time came for Communion I went up to the front, crossed my arms in front of me and waited for the Priest to do something signifying I had been blessed so I could move on. And suddenly a wafer was being placed into my mouth. I knew I couldn't spit it out, and I knew that turning away in that split second wasn't going to be cool either (not that it would've worked, anyway) so I ate it. And I felt really, really bad because I'd been trying to do something that Grandmom would've appreciated, and instead I inadvertently did something disrespectful! Fortunately, George (Dad Fry) told me I did all of the correct things and it wasn't my fault. Whew!

And when telling Matt's Meth0dist uncle the story (we were talking about that as all of the C@tholic stuff was happening) he laughed, told me he was pretty sure G0d didn't mind, and that's when I told him I felt like a good little C@tholic, taking Communion and praying a ros@ry. It made us both smile. :)


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