Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cake is Awesome!

I like to think I'm cool and modern.  For the most part, that's what I see when I look in the mirror. And more importantly, when I search inside my heart for the answers to difficult questions.  Given my age, experience and level of maturity, I try to extend a vibe of modern coolness across the board.  At least I hope so.  This position keeps the door open for growth and further development.  Plus, I have this tee-shirt of a cake holding an electric guitar, with the message being "Cake is Awesome!"  I wear that occasionally.  It appeals to the youth.

I feel as though my relationship with God should reflect this contemporary composure.  I am most peaceful when He and I are on the same page.  When I go to mass, I know I belong there.  I hope the same for my sons as they begin to embark on their own spiritual journeys and get to know the kind of God who can help them have the best lives ever.

Church is nice.  I enjoy that sixty minutes devoted exclusively to guiding my thoughts through each story and song.  I say my prayers.  I think about the people I love.  I glance over at my boys, and I am grateful for the opportunity to be their mom.

In the middle of the ceremony when the little kids are called to the altar and they file sweetly into the adjoining room for the simplified version of the gospel, I watch Rory look them over.

"I had no idea they still did this anymore," he whispers into my shoulder.  Perhaps he is under the impression they shut the operation down after he made his Holy Communion a few years ago.

"There's no reason to keep running this program," Father Ambrose might suggest to the Monsignor during the pancake breakfast after mass.  "Rory Killian sits with his mother these days.  Clearly, he is the best of all the children ever brought before the Lord."

My youngest is in the fifth grade now.  He kills time in the pew with his older brother, Desmond and I.  There are no physical breaks in the torture of his organized religion.  They've also got a new policy at St. Matthew's.  You have to be eleven years old to go to the bathroom without a parent.  Des can stand up and walk out whenever he wants.  If you're ten, you need to use the toilet before you leave the house.  That's the rule.  Rory Malcolm is trapped.

"Mom, can I look through your pocketbook?" he asks.

"What for?"

"Something to do."

"No, honey."

"How about I just tidy things up in there?"

"Not necessary."

We stand and then, we sit.  Desmond and I sing.  Rory attempts to braid one of his shoelaces.  I give his other foot a little kick.

"Stop that," I say.  "Spend some time with Jesus."

"I already did."


"When I got here."

"Well, what did you say?"

"I said 'Thank you.'"  He thought for an extra minute.  "And 'Help me.'"

"Help with what?"

Exasperated, he replies, "Church."

Rory folds his arms in front of his chest and leans back on the bench.  I can't say that I blame him for not totally digging the scene the way I do.  It took me a good, long while to get to where I'm at.

"Mom, do you think there's intelligent life on other planets?"

"I don't know, Brother.  Perhaps.  It all depends on how you look at it, I guess."

"Well, I'm gonna look at it like there is.  And it's a lot smarter than here on Earth."

"You're just saying that because you're bored."

With that, Desmond leans over and inserts himself into our exchange.

"You people really need to keep it down.  I'm trying to pray here."

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