Sundays. I tend to feel sad on Sunday nights. I blame my parents, of course. Since I can remember, Sundays were church days. Waking up early, getting dressed in uncomfortable dresses, itchy hose, and tight shoes was only made better by the fact that we were going to see friends and perhaps go over to their house until the evening service.
I used to get lectured quite a bit on Sundays. How to sit, how to stand, how to talk, how to laugh. Who to look at, who not to. How to wear my hair, even. My mother would have me practice my posture with the handle of a broom behind my back, held secure in the crook of my elbows, and two, three books stacked atop my head every day after school. It was common for girls in the church to be married by seventeen. It was not common for them to go to college.
Sometimes I think about all the things I missed out on while in church, or getting ready for it. Maybe I would have learned to roller skate or swim. Maybe I would have become more courageous, more adventurous, more articulate. Maybe I would have openly read books that were censored by the church, and not hid them from my parents. Maybe I would have learned to express my opinion, stand behind it.
I wonder about the me I could have been. The one not so obsessed with pleasing. The one that is hiding in there somewhere, looking at the world, anticipating the moment the cloak would come off.
This is a Magpie Tale.
We had recently been invited to attend the baptism of the baby of one of our closest friends in the Orthodox Church. Having been raised a Protestant, I had rarely set foot within an Orthodox Church, let alone attend a baptism. Throughout the traditional Orthodox liturgy, I found myself transfixed by the golden icons of a suffering Christ adorning the wall separating the nave from the Sanctuary, and the bejeweled Beautiful Gates leading to it. I couldn’t help but wonder why it is that humans have such a need to explain God and the way to the eternal, when, in my opinion, it’s really a matter of manifesting God’s love daily that determines our immortal soul’s residence.
By the way, I am not picking on any particular faith. Also, I find religious rituals to be beautiful and comforting, serving whatever purpose they were designed for. I just don’t believe that anyone’s got the grasp on God and Christ as they all seem to think they do.
When I go to my parents’ church, the choir’s singing brings me to tears without fail. As soon as they open their mouths in song, I get chills and heaven is within my reach. When the sermon starts, however, it is just a rehash of the things I have grown up hearing. The majority of it is ego stroking, pointless, repetition. My eyes glaze over and I find myself checking the time.
Now if this doesn’t depress everyone, I don’t know what will. This post was really supposed to be about my front door (that up there is not my front door), and not about my issues with organized religion. But I guess it had to be said, because lately I find so much hypocrisy when I open those front doors of a church. Any church. And I wish it weren’t so.
For more, and much happier, front door posts, visit Jane at #mce_temp_url# and check out her right side bar.