It was Easter Sunday. I awoke with nothing on my agenda for that day. Since I don’t have family in the area, and Easter is a very family holiday, I didn’t look forward to a family dinner of something of that nature.
I sat down at my computer with my coffee and started writing which is what I try to do every morning.
I began to think about my religious history. I grew up in the Episcopal Church; we called it “Catholic Lite”. I was an altar boy, which we called an acolyte, and sang in both the children’s choir and the adult choir. I left the church when I was twenty something. I didn’t need all that stuff in my life about God and Jesus. I was an enlightened member of the 1960’s anti-Vietnam, anti-establishment, anti-anything-my-parents-cared-about generation that was going to change the world and save the future.
It was about 10:00 am, when I heard the church bells. I knew they were from the Episcopal Church that is not too far from me and I also knew that they do a service at 10:30 am because I looked it up once.
Suddenly, I was jumping into some cloths and walking rapidly down the street. I got there just before the service started.
The church was like the one I grew up in with stain glass and carved wooden structures everywhere. What made my heart pound was the resounding music from the pipe organ, also like the one in the church I attended every Sunday, as a child.
Then the processional started. I was right next to the aisle by which the priest and entourage entered. I was five feet from the members of the choir as they passed in their vestments, holding their hymnals. That was when my eyes started to tear up and I had to bite my lip a bit. What a surprise for me.
I loved singing in the choir as a child and a teenager. I loved the sound of the organ, and walking into the church. I always felt a slight bit of awe. Walking into church was being part of something that was clearly a lot bigger than me.
As the service continued, there was a young boy in the row ahead of me. He squirmed and got out of his seat and his mother looked at him with a stern expression that said, “behave yourself.” How many times did I see that same look on my mother’s face in church?
I thought about the parts of myself I had sacrificed when I left the church behind. I didn’t just throw out church and rebel against religious belief. I threw out friends and people that cared about me. I threw out sights and sounds that, because they were familiar, gave me comfort. I may have felt bored at times in church, but I never felt afraid. I threw out belonging to something.
It is not so much religious practice that I threw out, in my twenties. I threw out part of my roots in life. Without roots, we don’t have a strong base to keep us steady when life gets scary.
Meditation on our roots
What are my roots in life? What larger truths am I connected with? What thoughts connected to those roots give me comfort when I am afraid?