Monday, December 10, 2007


I bet people who read my blog are expecting some kind of status report. (I don't know that, of course. I just imagine that after all the build up and the drama around the discernment and preparation, they'd want something for closure. I imagine questions like "What was it like? Was it wonderful? How do you feel?"

And without a doubt the disappointing (yet truthful) answers will be... "It was okay. I guess it went well. I'm glad it's over. I really can't remember a lot." What I do remember comes in snatches... a glimpse of something here, a conversation there. But for those of you who'd like to have more than that... here's what I can remember:

I got shooed out of the kitchen right after breakfast because the assembly line for plattering the little party sandwiches was in place. My three friends from out of town were helping. My family took off for Central Park to tire out the kids so they'd behave during the ceremony. I got dressed. At the last minute, I decided to change from the dressy shoes to the comfortable ones; then decided they needed a polish. Got black shoe polish under my fingernails. Spent fifteen minutes scrubbing. When it was time to leave, I rode with the three older sisters in the Access-a-ride van. (Our driver must have wanted to be a fireman when he grew up because he whipped around corners like he was going to one.) I remember thinking "I need to throw up now."

Most of the pre-service activities are a blur. I remember trying to knit, trying to ground; that was hopeless. I was somewhere up in the dome. A sister from another community, who was recently life professed, assured me that I would be calm. (She didn't have to sing a solo at her profession.)

The processional hymn (St. Patrick's Breastplate) was grand, but we could have used a few more people in the procession to make it come out right... All the hymns were wonderful, (well duh, I picked them) but especially the Offertory anthem, which was a piece our own Sr. √Člise had written. St. Bart's choir did a magnificent job, as did the organist and choirmaster. When I look back on it like this, I realize just how many people I still have to say thank you to.

As the hymn "Come Holy Ghost" was being sung I was gazing straight up into the mosaic of the Transfiguration, focusing on the central figure. Of course it's a rendering of Jesus with his arms out to God, but just then it looked like Jesus with his arms out to me. We had a brief moment... me and the guy in the mosaic. That's probably when I actually said yes, although there were a series of questions and answers I rattled through before it was over. My singing was not so hot. I got through it without a mortifying giggling fit, that's the best I can say. The sermon was funny and pretty much over the top. I remember thinking I wonder who he's talking about, because it can't be me.

What I remember most was the sea of faces from my past... members of the Cursillo community, friends from other religious orders, celebrants who serve at our altar, parishioners from St. Bart's, people I used to work with... my family... each group was represented. I was handed cards and gifts and flowers... I can't remember who gave me what if a card wasn't attached.

I had dinner afterwards with my family and out of town guests and only then did I begin to return to my body. The amount of psychic and physical energy an event like this takes is unbelievable. I think I like being a guest at someone else's event way better than at my own. (Good thing I only have to do it once.)

1 comment:

Leanne Shawler said...

Congratulations! Sounds rather magical and you remembered the important parts, I think!

It sounds like my memories of my wedding day. I've had people come up to me (friends of the hubby) that I greet like I've never met them before and they're astonished: "But I was at your wedding!"

All I remember was that my flower headdress was too big and it was too late to fix it even though the florist said he would .... and the fish tacos and chocolate covered strawberries.

Oh and the chicken taquitos because I ate them for lunch for about a year afterward. Mmm. Leftovers.

Claire, thank you for sharing! (I hope you will keep doing so.)