I had a church experience today. And for some reason I feel I should preface this with a warning or two; because a few of my readers seem tired of the religous stuff, and the thing is, this is what I got folks. It doesn't make me less of a cusser, less artist, less human. Think of the human having the experience -- still, in certain cases, someone you know reasonably well.
Anyway. Today's sermon was just a pisser (see note above), because it cut to the heart of something I struggle with, which is coveting. Without wandering off into all sorts of anecdotes, suffice it to say that I've always always had the habit of indulging in imagination, and longing; in the what-ifs of life. And sometimes that involves envy, it involves the desire for something other than what I'm due. It's about credit cards, and people I'm not married to. It's about the other life, the one I wish I had a piece of, that other people seem to be leading while I, alas, am not.
I'm intelligent enough to know the difference between something I can work toward, and something that simply doesn't belong to me and/or is outside my sphere of attainment. When I was young I used to take some sick pride, for example, in my ability to get pretty much anything (and anyone) I set my sights on -- but I learned the hard way why certain rules exist (even though sometimes it seems they exist to be broken) -- and now I mostly just stew when the coveting really gets bad. So in listening to the sermon I felt shame and embarrassment, and a deep, rich irony at my own expense (after all, as Hannibal Lecter said, what do we covet? We covet what we see every day. Lots of my envy is focused on people I know via church.)
And yet, today was one of my scheduled days for helping with communion.
Now, I love Communion. Love it. I'd take it every DAY if I could, as controversial as that would sound to some. Because I honestly, genuinely feel close to God and Purpose at that moment, 99.9% of the time, regardless of whether it's a good day at worship. And today I was able to serve.
I got the wine, and it was "the full meal deal" today, the tray and the tiny shot glasses. And I found my shame and self-judgement fading and moving aside as I served, because I felt love for each of those people as they stepped up before me -- and I knew all their names, I was surprised to find. As each of them took their cup, as I said "The blood of Christ, shed for you," I could add their names to myself in silence. Shed for you, Geri. Shed for you, Lloyd. I didn't say the name aloud; I'm not a pastor, and what if I forgot one? But it was a healing thing.
I'm still a terrible covet-er. And anyone who knows their Zen Buddhism knows that longing is fatal. It's something I have to work on.
Meanwhile... my best friend wasn't in line today. And because she's experiencing lots of doubt right now with regard to the goodness of God, I must wonder. She doesn't need me nagging her though, I've already done some of that. I wish, I wish.