23 December 2010

christmas mass at 8am

"There is a winter storm warning for southeast Iowa, starting tonight at midnight and going through Christmas Eve at 6pm. Christmas day, there is a 90% chance of snow."

My grandpa and I were watching TV in his room at Sunnybrook. Not the farm. We did not send my grandpa to the farm with Rebecca. He's at this cozy senior living facility, the kind of place that helps him arrange bridge parties and even makes the Chex Mix for him to serve.

I'd stopped by Sunnybrook on this Christmas Adam {you know, because Adam came before Eve. Religious humor is so appropriate this time of year}, and Grandpa and I were discussing Christmas plans.

"Well, it's going to be snowing on Christmas." My grandpa did not sound enthused about this.

"I know! It'll be a white Christmas!" I practically had tinsel in my voice. Given how less-than-excited my grandpa sounded, I decided to overcompensate by trying dredge up memories of Bing Crosby and that Frosty the Snowman cartoon, all with the twinkle in my voice.

It didn't work.

"And I have to go to Mass at 8 that morning, damn it!"

If he'd had a beer in his hand at that moment, he would've been the picture-perfect stereotypical Catholic. Committed to the ritual, if a little bitter about it.

He will be there to celebrate the Baby Jesus' birth because that's what you do. You get some Holy Water, kneel to the Virgin, say some prayers, and eat the Body of Christ. It's what he does every week; the only thing that's special about this week is that Mass is at 8am. Damn it.

The frankness is what is so appealing. So many of us—myself at the very front of that list—like to put on a happy face. We are Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, thinking that we have to like everything that's happening. Or at least look like we do and talk like we do.

Now, there's something to be said for finding the good in every situation, and I am a huge proponent of that.

There's also something to speaking positively about a situation where you need an attitude adjustment: I believe this is the "fake it until you make it" principle. Talk as if you're okay with what's going on, and soon enough, you will be.

But there's also something to a quick volley of honesty, allowing yourself that shot of disappointment or anger or sadness. Or frustration that you have to be at Mass at 8am.

You say, "Now here is what I'm feeling," and then you find that recognizing the negative brewing within you actually weakens its charge.

I believe there's room for both reactions in all of us. Room for Rebecca and room for that flash of negativity.

There was just no room at the inn and now we have to go to Mass at 8am to remember that, damn it.

{Sorry about all the cursing in this post. I don't normally use bad words, as evidenced by how I still refer to them as "bad words," as if I were a little girl categorizing the world. But you can't tell a story about my grandpa without getting in a few bad words.}

1 comment:

  1. I think we can forgive the swearing - it is very Grandpa!



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