I realize I’ve been a little heavy on the Jesus front lately, what with the Ichthuses on Monday and starting out with Bill’s stand-ins yesterday, but I’ve painted myself into a corner with today being Ash Wednesday. So don your purple, get ready for Clam Chowder Fridays, and whatever you do, don’t scratch your forehead.
I almost forgot too. I had to stay after school because students come and hang out in the computer lab on Wednesdays, and the entire time I was looking forward to a lazy afternoon spent lounging in boxers in front of the fan. I’m not really sure what jogged my memory, but I got back to my house around 4:30 p.m., and mass was at 5:30 p.m.
Now Ash Wednesday is no Easter or Christmas, but it packs the pews, and I was already looking at a 20-minute walk to the church. And hell if I was gonna stand around in the back. So in order to get there early and ensure my seat, I barely had enough time to walk in and walk out of my house.
On Sunday I go to the 9:15 English mass, which is nice because it’s in, you know, English. But when they announced the mass times for today, they didn’t clarify which services would be held in Samoan and which would be in, you know, English. So I dawdled a little walking in, trying to figure out what language we’d be speaking tonight. And that was when I heard my new Samoan name called.
I looked up to see one of my year-12 students sitting in the back row. The look on her face was one of shock. I smiled and said hello and sat down next to her, doing a mini-genuflect and the sign of the cross as quickly as possible. “So you’re Catholic?” She asked, still baffled.
“Yeah.” Believe it or not.
I could understand her state of mind for 2 reasons. First, it’s weird teaching at (and attending, I assume) a school run by a religious organization that you are not a part of. And it’s difficult to try and pick out who the other Congregationalist-poseurs are. Second, it’s weird to think that teachers are actual humans when school is not in session. It didn’t seem unlikely that some of my teachers either lived in their classroom or faded away to nothingness when students left for the day. So I was hitting this girl with a double-whammy.
She was only sitting in the back row because she was waiting for the rest of her family to arrive, and she soon got up to go sit with them, leaving me in the back row. I had come early to get a seat, but now I had to flaunt my seat in front of all the people standing in the back. Oh well.
Songs were in English. The sign of the cross was almost always in English. The readings were in English. Most other stuff was in Samoan. No holding hands during the Our Father. No Sign of Peace. And the quick English translation at the end of the homily was just a reminder that everyone (EVERYONE) should be avoiding meat on Fridays. Children younger than 6, and elderly who are older than 60 – ehhh… 65 – shouldn’t worry about fasting.
So mass was spiritually hollow, but I did run into that same student on my way out afterwards, and she was happy to see me again. So I think it was worth going.
On my walk home, one of the bouncers outside the dance club near the church yelled, “Sole!”, which means “Dude!”, and then gestured that I had something on my face. But I didn’t wipe.
Hope you’re keeping your hands off too. I am promising you a Jesus-free Thursday! Picture below.
Saw this snail crawling across the lawn in broad daylight right after school today. It was huge. Didn't have the heart to steal it's shell.
10 months ago