Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hey Jude

Now, I'm not at all religious. I know the Mr.'s mom is not going to like to read this, even though she may have already suspected it, but the truth is, we only go to church on Christmas and Easter. Except I didn't go this Easter. I slept in. And it was GREAT, sign of the cross, amen. The Mr. went without me, but he gave me a full report later. That has to count for something. Sure, I felt guilty, but not guilty enough to get up. It's going to take a whole lot more than the threat of a little hell to get me out of bed. The Mr. has a raging case of the Catholic Guilt, however, and even if he wanted to sleep in he couldn't, because he would only dream of eternal damnation, his guilt is so strong. My parents did something right (or is it wrong?) because I only felt guilty for about 5 seconds. "I'm going to hell for skipping mass on a sacred holiday. Ehh, I was probably going anyway. Now, let's fluff up this pillow here and crank up the electric blanket. Zzzzz."

I spent most of my childhood actively trying to get out of going to church. I was scarred early on when mom would say my nightly prayers with me and we'd get to, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost" and I'd stop her to say, "Don't say 'Holy Ghost,' mama. Scare me." Apparently, it scared lots of other kids too, becase it's since been changed to Holy Spirit, which frankly, still scares me.

When I was old enough to figure out that I hated going to church, mom was fairly lenient and if she was going to force me to go, she would at least let me bring a book so I could tune out the sermon. The only time I recall dad letting me out of it was one Easter, when they thought we could all go for a fun, fun sunrise service. This is at, like, 5 a.m. That is just cruel. When my brothers and sister said we would go if we could bring blankets and wear our pajamas, they gave up and went without us. But they let us think we were still going, and it was only when we all woke up well past 5 a.m. that we realized we had gotten out of it.

Dad forbade us from bringing books to church, so my stepbrother Glenn and I would instead spend our time engaging in the very Christlike activities of making fun of people who sang too loudly or priests who just got way too into it. Eventually, we couldn't stifle our giggles and my parents would banish us to the lobby until we got control of ourselves. Good times.

I still enjoy Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, though. They have a concert before Mass that is quite pretty. I love hearing Ave Maria and Amazing Grace and all the other Classic Catholic Rock. Hearing the sopranos' voices bounce off the walls of the Cathedral is enough to give you goosebumps. Plus, I'm usually already awake at that hour, so it's no big deal to just head on over to church. Being dragged out of bed is what I really resent.

After telling you all of this, I feel funny telling you this next part: we were married in a church. I don't regret it or anything, but even as we were preparing to do it, it struck me as kind of strange. But I was already planning to get up early that day, throw on a white dress (shut it) and some makeup, so...may as well just head on over to church, right?

It seems like a lot of people do this, get married in a church when they're really not all that religious. There was just something that felt right about doing it that way. I may not have much of the Catholic Guilt, but I think I would have had a little of it had we not been married in some sort of religious ceremony. The Mr. would have been overcome. The priest who married us was the liberal, cool sort of priest, and he didn't make me say any of that "I will obey" business, because like hell will I obey, and he didn't mind that we were living in sin and overall, he made it a really nice, personal ceremony that felt like us.

So, where I was intending to go with this post is not where it wound up, you should know. I was originally going to talk about how I don't really pray, but I totally use St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes. He's my favorite saint, and he did me a nice favor the other day. He hooks a girl up, even when she doesn't go to church. A good, all-purpose dude to pray to. You should check him out if you've got a lost cause or two. I'm also a fan of St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers. I have a St. Christopher visor clip in my car that my aunt gave to me before I drove across the country years ago, and what do you know? It worked.

It's more of a habit, begging these saints for this or that, much in the way that I still say the alphabet when twisting the stem off an apple to reveal the first initial of the name of the man I'm going to marry even though clearly there is no need for that anymore.

Reason #543 I'm going to hell: praying to the saints when it's convenient for me.