Going to Mass since the pandemic broke out and restrictions were put in place has been a strange experience, to say the least. My home parish is one of the more “paranoid.” Every other pew has been blocked off. We enter through only one door and leave through another door. Two hand sanitizer stations are prominent in the gathering area. The bathrooms are now “for emergencies only” (a horrid diaper explosion counts, right?). We must have our temperature taken at the front entrance. Everyone must wear a mask. If you don’t wear a mask, you must either sit outside and listen to the Mass via speakers or leave and watch the Mass on the Facebook livestream. We can no longer sing in church because of the danger of droplets flying everywhere, propelled by the force of our Christian fervor. There is no shaking hands or hugging during the sign of peace. We can’t get up for Communion. The priest brings Him to you. You may not receive on the tongue, only on the hand.
The other Catholic church we have visited does not have nearly as many restrictions. They do the “every other pew” thing, but almost no one wears a mask, and they all sing. There are also tons of people congregating outside (probably not six feet apart) because the church itself doesn’t hold many and now holds even fewer due to the aforementioned “every other pew” thing.
Weirdly, I am finding my church’s Mass more reverent than I had before because of one reason: increased silence. Without everyone processing to the priest in the Communion line, I am not distracted by noticing everyone’s outfit and thinking stuff like, “Ooh, I had no idea she was pregnant!” and “Man, that guy’s beard is super long.” There is no singing, except by the cantor, so I can focus better on the lyrics of the songs and notice things I had not noticed before.
So in all this craziness, there is a silver lining. Or maybe I made it for myself by taking advantage of the extra “quiet” time.
The last chapter of the reissued version of THE ARCHIVES posted a few days ago. I had fun tweaking it. Not much changed from the original version I posted on FictionPress in 2011, except I had to completely rewrite 15 chapters because I felt like they were unrealistic. (Hey, 15 chapters out of 365 counts as “not much.”) Because I’m a perfectionist, I may take a look at it again at some point in the future because one can never eradicate all the typos and inconsistencies the first (or even second) time around. But for now, that’s it. Hope you liked it!
I keep vacillating on the next story I’m going to post here, so it may be awhile before I get to that. I also have been thinking about just plain blogging and musing like I used to. It’s not that I have nothing to write about. On the contrary, I can’t keep the ideas out of my head. I question the worth of what I have to say more often, though, because others say the same thing much more clearly than I ever could.
Book reviews would be the easiest thing to post about, but I am still stuck on my book about the Kennedy men (Laurence Leamer). The last piece of fiction I read was Darling Rose Gold (Stephanie Wrobel), which was based on the real-life story of Gypsy Rose. (Google it if you don’t know what it is and want to be horrified.)
What I really want to write about is God, but every time I consider writing something “profound,” I think that perhaps I should meditate and listen to God instead of writing about him or talking to him. I’m also afraid of accidentally falling into heresy or leading someone astray. Basically, I feel like I need to learn more before I can say much of anything. In the meantime, I recommend Henri Nouwen’s The Return of the Prodigal Son, which is beautifully written and succinctly summarizes the garbled mess in my brain (and saves me time trying to get it written out).
That’s enough for now. I hope you all are doing well. (This post is also a public service announcement: Step away from the news and/or Internet if it’s making you depressed.)
After the last day of school,
Liz and I walked
down the sidewalk
by the building.
I stopped in front of the entrance.
“Aren’t you glad the year’s over?”
I looked at her, but words
I loved the school
more than any normal person should.
But I could not save it.
Caution tape ribboned the shell of the library,
the storage building had been demolished.
The campus was still a repository
for the archives of countless memories,
and still more
had yet to be made.
“Yes and no.”
“How profound,” Liz said sarcastically.
“I’d think an archivist
would have more words.”
Sometimes you don’t need words.