I'm sorry we didn't go to church this morning. Or last Sunday. Or the Sunday before that. I feel like you would give me a pass for this morning, seeing as combing your daughter's hair for nits for three hours in the middle of the night is indeed a labor of love and worthy of a few Heaven Points. But last Sunday was the day after our party and we had a big bakery order, and honestly, I don't remember the reason for the weekend before that.
We were lazy, we were tired, we were busy, we were PICKING NITS, but truthfully God, I didn't really want to go to church at all. [I shall now take a few moments to see if I burst into flames.] ...still here... I didn't want to go. I don't want to go. Oh, I sort of wanted to go this morning, but in a Get In The Christmas Spirit sort of way, in a Gee, We Haven't Been In A While way, in a Let's Get Mass Out Of The Way Early So We Can Go Downtown And Have Some Fun! way. I can't honestly say that I'm sorry for not wanting to go, God, although I realize I should be sorry and I think I would like to be sorry.
I'm not sure when church became something I didn't really feel like doing. Maybe when our friends started disappearing at our old parish - for various sensible reasons. Maybe when I joined the Pastoral Council and realized I'd committed to three years of serving the parish in a way in which I am not at ALL gifted. Maybe when the new priest showed up and his demeanor made me cringe.
Maybe when I had to start bringing KIDS. (Probably that.)
God I go back and forth and back and forth with myself. I'm supposed to GET something out of Mass. No, I'm supposed to BE at Mass. I'm there to receive the EUCHARIST. I'm not supposed to expect a brilliant homily as well. I'm certainly not supposed to expect to FEEL something at Mass.
Even though I continue to read blog posts by, and talk to people who feel things at Mass. I wish I did! Is something wrong with me?
God, I'm sorry for constantly entertaining the idea that I would be happy in a non-denominational church. That I would be a better Christian if I went ELSEWHERE. Not sorry because I think non-denominational churches are no good, but because I know that's not where you want me. How many times have you told me I'm supposed to be/stay Catholic? A LOT. What was it you said to me at Urbana a year ago? That the Catholic Church is definitely where you want me to be.
It's not that I don't want to be Catholic, God. I love that I'm Catholic. You know that. I never want to not be Catholic. I just sometimes (a lot of times) want to go to Not Catholic church.
And I'm SORRY! I'm sorry, God. I'm sorry that most of what I'm thinking about in Mass is how much longer I have to make sure my kids are behaving. How I can't understand the priest. How I'm tired. What other things I could be doing. All the things I am NOT getting out of Mass. How I STILL don't remember the "new" responses.
I am fully aware that all of those things could and do apply to other churches too. I KNOW. But perhaps the grass is greener, etc.
We are more or less decided on That Other Church. For now. They have a great Sunday School program and THANK YOU, GOD for providing me with bunches of people to tell me about it and encourage me to go there. My oldest will prepare for his first communion next year and I'm thankful that I've at least got that covered.
I feel committed to you in so many other ways, God, but I'm a huge disappointment in this department. It feels extra terrible since its the department you hear most about: be in the pews on Sunday! And I'm sorry, but not enough. Not really. It's so confusing. It can be so unsettling.
It's probably quite inconsiderate of me to bring up these unpleasant things right before your birthday. I'm sorry.
What else am I sorry for? Oh man, so many things. I'm sorry I completely ignored that letter home about lice because 1) I'm lazy and 2) I didn't have time for lice and therefore it wouldn't happen to us and so 3) my daughter suffers. I'm sorry I made an Advent wreath and then never lit it. I'm sorry I've been SO short with my family. I'm sorry for all the evenings I want to hide in my bedroom and shut the door. I'm sorry we can't find Joseph from the nativity set. I'm sorry I keep eating cookies when I'm stressed instead of being with you. I'm sorry that an overpriced eyeshadow kit I don't need was the thing that most floated my boat this week. (Although, God, if you wore eyeshadow, you would totally shun the drugstore stuff once you tried my fancy palette. Thank you for fun things like eyeshadow.)
I'm not a very knowledgeable or devout or intense or enthusiastic Catholic. But God I do feel that I am a very earnest Catholic, with good intentions and genuine desire to be better. I am super serious about my faith, even if it can be a very flighty twinkly bipolar sort of faith. Oh I pray you have mercy on me and forgive my self-indulgent thinking. I know you love me, I know you're totally down with sharing a bottle of wine in my living room, and thank you for your patience and grace while I strive to become better company.