I was raised Catholic. I hated going to Mass. Hated. It. I used to throw tantrums every Sunday, well past the age where tantrums were expected or even tolerated, to try to get out of going to church. No dice.
Once I got older, I'd try to oversleep. That never worked either. My dad started taking me to church before I could even hold my head up on my own, and by God, when I was living in his house, I was going to go to church. I also hated my CCD classes with a passion and tortured my teachers. I shudder to think of how I might have turned out of there had ever been enough money to start a Catholic school in my home town.
So, as soon as I got out of the house, I stopped going to church. There was a brief period probably eight years or so ago, when I went back to church for a bit. I had several Catholic friends who went to a pretty neat church in St. Paul. But I stopped going and now I only go out of obligation to someone or something.
Despite the fact that I am a fallen or lapsed or recovering Catholic and quite frankly, I'm not even sure what I believe, I do welcome the routine and ritual of the church when I'm grieving. I willingly stayed through Fred's wake last night to participate in the Knights of Columbus (Fred was a 4th Degree Knight, as is my dad ... the whole weirdness and secrecy surrounding their initiation has always made me think the KCs are some sort of Stonecuttersesque organization) rosary at the end.
And of course, there was the funeral Mass today. I ended up singing at the request of Fred's widow. There is something oddly comforting to me about the ritual and routine of a mass for a funeral. On most occasions when I grudgingly attend church to avoid a fight with my dad, I pay zero attention and my thoughts always turn to sex, cursing and drinking. It's my brain's way of revolting? But knowing what's going to happen; the same prayers at the same time, songs I almost assuredly know ... it gives me something on which to focus. Especially when I'm singing, because I don't want to make an ass out of myself. I had some moments where I had to stop because I was crying too hard (I wasn't alone, I was singing with my high school choir director and another woman), but I think I held it together much better than I would have otherwise.
I sometimes wonder if my love of routine and ritual in my life in general isn't because of my Catholic upbringing. I have a lot of routines and some even border on the ritual. Though, that all could just be that touch of OCD I have. Perhaps they feed off of each other.
So, I'm back home and absolutely fucking exhausted, despite having taken a nap. On the one hand, I just want to stay home and be wiped out and do nothing. On the other hand, however, I know going to yoga tonight will provide the real centering and calming that I need.
That's my kind of ritual these days.
Updated: I fixed that broken link.