Monday, April 21, 2008


(This post contains information of a religious nature. For those who are easily offended by organized religion, you may want to skip down to the paragraph that starts with "Speaking of soccer". For those of you opposed to organized sports and organized religion, please exit now.)

Much to the consternation of my friends and family, I have my voice back! It was so bad when I wrote the post that I had a very hard time reading to my children. Then, on Thursday night, I attended a charismatic Healing Mass in San Diego County (these are not conducted as a replacement for proper medical care). It was celebrated by a priest who I am proud to call a close friend and advisor to our family.

There is a part of the Roman Catholic Church that many people, especially those who are not Catholic, are not aware of. It's the charismatic movement. These Masses are different in that they include what's called "praise and worship" in music and words. With arms raised, the choir and congregation frequently praise aloud during the whole Mass. The priests get into it, too. The music has more of a Christian pop flavor, and everyone is very verbal and joyful. For many people, it adds to the reverent nature of what most would imagine is a typical, yet contemplative, Mass. This is not my charism, yet I enjoy being in the environment. Although my arms aren't outstretched, my heart is soaring.

In a Healing Mass, the priest offers the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick (or Extreme Unction). After the anointing, you have an opportunity to be prayed over. This is the time that many are "slain by the Holy Spirit"--right unto the floor. No, this has not happened to me.

I can attest to the healing nature of the Mass and sacrament. As Father stated in the beginning of the celebration, everyone receives a healing before they leave for the evening. However, it may be in ways that they didn't request or expect. I got my voice back. I was surprised, but I shouldn't have been. I just didn't expect it so sudden and so soon. BIG GOD, little me. I was even able to shout in support of my sons at soccer this weekend. Not wanting to inflame my nodule scars again, I didn't get boisterous, but I did yell their names every so often.

Speaking of soccer--a very unsettling event unfolded on the sidelines right before my eyes on Saturday. I was at the game for the 10 and 11 year olds. I keep to myself and my children, for the most part, but I noticed that many of the moms seem to know each other very well. All the more for me not to want to meet any of them.

I had not prepared for the bitter cold winds, so my daughter and I ended up looking like homeless people (sweatshirt with stains that I found buried in the van, a blanket that I wrapped around us, my daughter's summer dress tucked inside some big sweats). There was a bit of movement by one of the moms, with her walking up and down the side of the field, speaking with her child's father, yet sitting in another location. At one point, she was standing next to me with another man. Her younger son walked by them and the man said, "Aren't you going to say 'Hi' to me?" He didn't. Then the mom said, "Say 'Hello' to Steven." Awkward moment.

Are you with me? Then the mom walks back and forth again and stops on the other side of me. She tells another mom, "Where did she go? Is she gone now that she heard us talking about her?" Hello, Ladies! I'm trying to watch the game here. You know, the game where kids are playing to have a good time. So, I look over, and, sure enough, her child's dad is having a heated discussion with another woman. Uh-oh. This happened several times during the game.

Fine. You want to play like you're in junior high? No problem, everyone has a dream. But, come on, folks, there are children involved. Not only the girl on my son's team and her brother, but both new significant others had children, too. Anyone out there from divorced families having flashbacks right now? I put myself in the shoes of those kids for about a split second, before I became so nauseous, I had to distract myself by actually watching the game again.

I wanted to turn to the mother and say, "Maybe if you stopped gossiping about your husband's girlfriend, your children may find just a bit of peace in their broken lives. Do you realize how destructive your behavior is?" But I didn't. I figured that she wouldn't take too kindly to advice from someone who lives on the street.

As we walked back to the van, I happened directly behind the "other" woman. She looked like the saddest person in the world. I wanted to say to her, "Are you prepared to live this way for rest of your life? Because I doubt that things will get better. Why don't you just get out now and let them battle it out without any interference?" But I didn't. I had to get my son to another park to take soccer pictures.

We had 20 minutes to get from the game to the pictures, which were 10-15 minutes away. Unfortunately, it takes me 15 minutes to load up the van because I have to put every single item exactly where it belongs so that I can find it again. (My husband, by the way, was assistant coaching one of our other son's team at approximately the same time.)

In my rush to get out of there, I lost my footing on the step of the front seat, as I was reaching for the trash bag inside. I fell out of the van. When my head hit the door, it broke my fall, but opened wider. When the door stopped moving, this gave my body an opportunity to knock against it one more time. My son gasped, "Are you okay, Mom?" I had no idea. I had to get to pictures. I didn't have time to take inventory of my wounds. I picked myself up, put the stroller in the back and jumped in the driver's seat. Luckily, the double vision subsided as I turned the motor on. Then the pains and sting from the scrapes began to materialize. I wondered if another Healing Mass would be celebrated soon so that I could go for the internal injuries that I'm sure this old body sustained.

I was consoled by telling myself that I can't possibly be as miserable as the people who I witnessed embroiled in battle on the field. My scars will heal (hopefully, soon) and be forgotten, but will theirs?