The natural light, prismatic through stained glass was the strongest I can recall. But then I hadn’t stepped foot in a church in such a very long time. Perhaps it was just me that Saturday morning-inspired, taken, soulful, as I watched early morning sun embrace the face of big wooden Jesus up on a cross behind the pulpit.
I stood 20 feet from an angel. She was standing center aisle, close to a row of seats nearest the front. It was a graduation morning. Garbled tones rose and carried from a thousand voices blended as one. The acoustics were amazing. I heard nothing as soon as I spotted her.
The floor was a sea of people. Most dressed in black and white at least from my point of view. She stood there. Talking. Shaking hands. In red. Straight. Her erect posture noticeable. It never failed as long as I’ve known her. It was her way of standing up to the pain and kicking the ass out of the shit she endured in life. Her above-the-knee length designer dress color was bright, yet as deep as blood. The diffused light captured her big smile. Dimples still intact. Check.
At one point she stared. Dead center towards me. Yet, I could tell deep inside-she was looking directly through me. No connection. Even though there was a very strong bond a few short years earlier. I felt the most invisible I ever had in my entire life because indeed, I truly was invisible. I was in a house of God and he told me so.
Perhaps she didn’t notice me. Felt better to tell myself that. Maybe her memory had blended me into the gray stream of the past where people’s faces customarily blur and dissolve.
I remembered the funny things we did. How she laughed at my jokes and shook her head at my awkward gestures. All good. I walked toward her personal space. The closer I got the darker the red became. I felt sick to my stomach. There was much heat now. My face felt flush. I was dizzy. She was sitting now. Close to end of the aisle.
I can see clearer her other children there to witness the graduation of the eldest daughter, sister from high school.
Directly next to her was the fiance. I made my presence known. Quick. I wanted to get this over with. I reached over the new guy. I didn’t introduce myself. He knew who I was I’m sure. He was sort of thuggish in appearance. Chewing gum in a manner I found disrespectful for a church. Until that moment I had no idea what the hell that meant. The thought just popped into my head. A more well-mannered way of comparing penis size I guess (I would have lost for sure).
“I’m so glad to be here for ________ graduation. _________ invited me,” I said because I believed I needed a valid excuse, possibly a notarized certificate of some sort, to be in attendance. The graduate did indeed invite me.
But it was strange. Afterall, I was sludge from the past puncturing through the purity of her present and in a house of worship no less.
“Thank you for coming,” she now smiled. Right through me too. Close up. Shook my hand. Thank you for your patronage. All the while, gum chewer was watching me. I said nothing. I noticed the velocity of his chewing picked up. Loud now, or at the least-noticeable. I sort of liked that I shook up his cadence. I revel in small victories as I age!
I walked backwards away. Gone for good now. Fade to black or something darker. I sat in the back of the church and experienced an incredible young lady graduate. Actually, I watched much youth overly excited about life. New adventures. Gave me faith.
I experienced the slight twinge of God again. Deep inside. Like a spirit sparked to life. I coughed because the feeling startled me. Was that wonderful spark now attempting to leave? Not sure. Not yet. Not here.
1). Daily you die. Understand this now. Maybe it’s some asshole who cut you off in traffic or somebody left your life. You thought he/she cared but never really did. You feel like a jerk. Don’t know maybe you got the runs from a late-night drive through a Taco Bell. Whatever it is remember death to some degree is going to happen. You will stop breathing today. Face it. Recognize when the life light goes out. There’s going to be a setback. Some may shatter you, others provide a mere inconvenience. I’m not here to judge your obstacles. They’re all serious to us.
2). Light the spark as soon as humanly possible. If you go months, years, decades, before moving on it’s going to take much longer to ignite the positive spirit inside. I know. My spark has gone out many times. Hell, my pilot light has been obliterated a few times too. Try like hell to light up utilizing positive actions. What nurtures you? How can you work today towards re-building the warmth, the fire again? Is there one small step inside you?
3). Be attentive to your relationship with money. If you overspend, only live for today, take on too much debt, you are killing yourself financially. Perhaps it’s a money imprint. You watched your parents make stupid decisions, you were never taught the basics.Maybe your parents were incredibly frugal and you’ve been fighting subconsciously to detach from their habits (even if their good). Believe me I’ve seen this behavior many times.
Ask yourself: What is your money habitude? What type of money decisions, good or bad do you make over and over again?
Check out www.moneyhabitudes.com and order Syble Solomon’s Money Habitudes Cards. A modest expense. No, I don’t work for Syble nor am I rewarded financially by your purchase. I’ve used the cards. I complete this exercise with people on a regular basis.
From the website:
Although it’s fun and feels like a game, Money Habitudes tackles serious business: helping people talk about money, understand financial psychology and explain their money personality type. As a result, the innovative, hands-on tool is used in a variety of ways:
Start great conversations about money and finances. Money is one of the most difficult subjects for people to discuss. As a fun and engaging conversation starter, Money Habitudes makes talking about money easy and approachable.
Provide AHA! insights regarding finances, relationships, career and lifestyle choices. Often, we don’t know why we do what we do with our personal finances. Money is the number one reason why couples fight and is frequently the reason people stay in dead-end jobs. The financial personality quiz aspect of the tool provides important insights about money issues.
A versatile tool. They can be used as a quick ice breaker or conversation starter, a standalone activity or as a class module in a class, workshop, or seminar. They are used by individuals and couples on their own, but are also trusted by financial, relationship and career professionals such as financial educators, financial planners, therapists and career coaches. And because the cards do not require deep financial knowledge and use broadly applicable statements, they are used across the age, income, and education spectrum.
Ok, that’s enough. You get it. Live again through smarter money decisions.
I smiled when I realized: I had died and lived again. All in a morning. In a church. Although I believed I didn’t belong. Out of place. It happened.
I left the graduation ceremony before it ended. I didn’t belong to that special moment when this girl now a grad, was ready and eager to embrace a new world. That was space reserved exclusively for celebration with current family and family-to-be. Not me. And I always knew (know) my place. It was ok.
I halted at the first step outside. Looked back. Winced up at the steeple. I thanked God for the moment. A mental image to live and die for.
I was convinced the day was going to end better than it started.
And that was a true blessing.