Anyway, for what it's worth, here is my first entry of the new year. I feel an unexpected sense of relief that the holidays are over, though like my sister I don't care for years with uneven numbers. And not because anything bad transpired in 2008. To the contrary, I was quite fortunate, especially given the state of the economy. I fared well at work, got a cheap interest rate on my mortgage, began to mend fences with my family, enjoyed Christmas -- for the first time since college -- with a blood relative and, finally, adopted a rescue Peke I named Lucy (see pic). Oh, and I returned to church, Catholic, St. Monica's up at 23rd and Geary.
People who know me are surprised I go to church. They ask me why. Sometimes they don't wait for an answer and proceed to list all the things wrong with organized religion. I'm not even sure myself exactly why I sought out the church again, after spending eight years in Catholic grade school followed by an excruciating four in an all girls Catholic high school and many adult sessions with psychotherapists in which I worked to exorcise the feelings of guilt and inadequacy that Catholicisim arguably implanted.
Here's what I know: Mass was the one place I sat still with my parents, sharing an experience, for more time than any occasion other than, perhaps, dinner. I have few links to my past like that, and none that is as comfortingly the same as when I was a kid. It is the one place my parents don't feel like a dream I made up. In fact, you could say that it was more unusual that I didn't go to church for so many years, it is so familiar. Now, I can't say I believe every tenet of the faith -- heck, it's difficult for me to simply believe in God -- but there is the nut of something there that centers me. In any case, it's an escape where I can turn off my cell phone, listen to stories, sing, smell incense and fall back into ritual as if it were the Snoopy sheets on my trundle bed at 837 Lehigh. I like being part of a community. And if it allows me to take time to contemplate my life and my actions, and how I can bring joy into the world around me, I think it's worth it, regardless of anyone's feelings about organized religion.