Remember when I said I would not simply post excerpts from Nearly Orthodox for 30 (or 40) days for this challenge? Well, I meant it…even though there IS a chapter in the book entitled, “Sunday Best.”
I’m beginning to think Fr John Peck is testing my resolve here, but that might be paranoid so I’ll just leave that thought alone in a closet somewhere until after the Nativity Fast is over.
Sometimes I dream that I leave the house and I have forgotten something, my coat, my shoes, my children. I am sitting in the car outside wherever I’m meant to be and I am beside myself. I’m lost and yet I have to keep going. In the dream, I find that I enter the engagement whether it’s Liturgy or Vespers, the grocery store, the writing conference, the therapist appointment, and I am absent something and I feel it in my body. I’m missing something, I’ve forgotten and I’m cold. Once, when I was young I dreamt I was going to camp, and this is a true story, I really was going to a Nazarene church camp that summer with some friends. I knew I was supposed to be wearing skirts that week but I realized in the dream that I had forgotten all of my clothes. I only had what was on my back and I was panicked and crying. I was in the car. I never forgot that dream, that feeling of being absent something, of not fitting in, of being judged.
Every Sunday morning now for the last few years that I’ve been dragging my boys to Liturgy the routine is the same. I roust them from their comfortable beds, too early for the weekend. I shoo them, without much success, away from the computer and the television. I root through their closet for something clean and (mostly) appropriate to wear and then I badger them to get dressed all while I’m getting myself ready to go.
They’re growing like weeds, like flowers, like long legged man/boys running in the wild. Their feet burst from their ragged shoes, purchased only a few months ago. I remember this growing, in spurts, for each of them at different times- in the womb, after the birth, 6 months, 1 year and then maybe time slowed down a bit and each one afforded some space for the other to shine. I can’t keep them in clothes that fit. We’re down to one “outfit” per boy.
My daughter was like this. I’d forgotten already. She always seems set apart, because she’s the first, because she’s the girl, because she’s a woman now, or very close. She heads to college next year. I’m not doing well with that. I have to let go sometime.
I am certain now at Liturgy that no one notices what my boys are wearing. I imagine too that no one cares much what I’m wearing though while I was a catechumen it felt different. I worried about being told what to wear, what people thought about what I wore and about what I thought about it. There’s a whole chapter in my book about it and a number of posts here. Lord, have mercy.
I’m able, now to register this in a new way, to mark the passing of time, they are growing like weeds or flowers or trees and perhaps that is what I’m really meant to measure- not judgement or fitting in or doing it right. They are growing like trees, strong and sound, arms like branches, fingers like leaves, alive and reaching and embracing. It’s good.