Monday, February 2, 2009

February came yesterday and wasted no time in upturning the routine with the wild interceptions, irreverant gestures, and blinding stagelights it has such command of. It was a beautiful day, a Superbowl day, if one cares about such things, and we headed out to church with the demanding Little Ditchman in the back seat. She's the vociferous DJ of the highway, if you didn't know, and I was forced to withstand the head-swelling sounds of the Veggie Tales, which is like the Alvin and the Chipmunks for the faithful. Seriously, it sounds like a high-pitched miter saw cutting through metal at full volume, and somewhere in there are the lyrics: JESUS LOVES THE LITTLE CHILDREN ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD... It's awful. It compels one to sin.

In the pew I was able to collect myself, late, near the front. No sooner than we sat down did Mrs. Ditchman get up and have to cart off the Little Digger to the cry room, and when you notice everyone watching you, you want to head there as well. But I stayed put, and the choir had a hymn of their own that put my heart at ease, and seriously so. Midway through the song my eyes actually got a little watery, and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the blessings of life, seen and unseen. Anyway, strangers noticed, but I held my head up, unashamed. I mean, seriously, isn't church just the big Cry Room of the world?

It was a communion Sunday, and I was relieved to see the Holy Host up there at the altar. The pastor suggested we pray in earnest for a multitude of things, and I obliged -so much so that when the bread came around, broken for me, I masterfully passed it to the congregant next to me, whispering with authority how this was "...Christ's body, broken for you..." -at which point I realized that I had forgotten to take some.

I think everyone around me noticed, since of course they'd been staring at me since I entered the sanctuary. Poor soul, they must've thought, Look at him with his head bowed. The man must really be hurting. Won't even accept communion. And that poor little family of his!

When the wine came around (Christ's blood shed for me...) I was so confused, I didn't know whether to accept and take some or just let it pass. Does half a ritual do any good? It's not really wine, anyway, it's grape juice -which Jesus Christ decidely did not use. Did everyone think I'd completely lost it? Did God Himself care? I decided I needed it, asked for forgiveness, and went on with life like the rest of the dumb sheep. At least I had the wherewithal not to take two. I'm pretty sure both God and Mrs Ditchman were shaking their heads.

Got home with a thousand plans, shattered in an instant by my wife with plans of her own -but it wasn't so bad. We put the game on, explained football to the two-year-old, watched Springsteen at halftime with her on my lap, ate guacamole and barbecued some tri-tip at sunset. Opened a bottle of wine, unconsecrated. Drank some. It tasted good. Started a Facebook account, and suddenly had a hundred more people staring at me from the ether.

What a world.