I confess: I am not aging gracefully. And a recent photo of me, taken at my mother’s 80th birthday celebration, left me feeling old, fat, irrelevant.
It is also Lent, a time for prayer and self-denial in preparation for Easter. So, since I am an early riser, l often try to make morning Mass.
I am a rather recalcitrant Catholic, but I love the Mass. And I love the St. Therese chapel at St. Helena Church in Blue Bell. The walls are mostly white. There are two huge stained glass windows behind the tiny altar, and many of the panes are pastel blues and greens and lilacs. The ceiling above the altar is painted blue and dazzled with silver stars. Even on a gray day, the little chapel is bright and airy. That particular day, the chapel was radiant.
So, maybe that is why, before the priest was even out on the altar, my spirits lifted considerably. A little voice from somewhere reminded me: “You can change how you feel about yourself, you know.”
I can’t say I dropped twenty pounds or twenty years off my life that morning. However, I sort of felt like I had. And when the priest read the gospel, it was the same gospel read at my Aunt Renee’s funeral. I felt as if she were encouraging me, too.
So, I left my oldness, fatness and irrelevance in the St. Therese chapel. I gave them up for Lent.
Funny thing… As I was leaving Mass, a woman caught up with me and asked, “Did you leave your backpack under the pew?”
No, someone else must have left his or her baggage, there, too.
Since then, I have certainly felt much lighter.
As I read, what humbled me was how much lighter – physically, emotionally, spiritually – I have become since then. This Lent, I really didn’t “give up” anything. Rather, I have embraced a positive outlook and resolved to trust in whatever has brought me back to Cape May.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover and Happy Spring to all!