10 August 2013

The Communion of Saints

One of my favorite memories from college took place on a Monday night. The church on campus had a Traditional Latin Mass, which, as I understand, had come together by the hard work of a small group. Ask and you shall receive....

At this Mass my sponsor's husband, H, served as a sacristan with our friend, L, and a few other men who had no previous experience serving. The Mass was great, of course, and many who heard it went to a meeting directly after where the visiting priest gave a short presentation on the Mass throughout history and answered questions. He also complimented the sacristans on their exceptional work and L laughed quite loudly because the group had practiced a bit last minute and wasn't sure how smoothly everything would go. My sponsor, M, looked up at her husband and laughed a little and I bit my lip because that was the only thing to keep my grin from becoming guffaws as well.

After the meeting, M, H, L and I went out to dinner with another server (whose name I cannot remember at the moment unfortunately, but he was a nice guy). H chose Buffalo Wild Wings, which I'm pretty sure M sometimes objected to, but decided he'd earned the celebration. We sat around the table talking about the Mass, Popes, M's pregnancy, music, beer....

Probably anyone else would have shrugged at the casual nature of our time, but perhaps because I was a recluse who often stayed at home or perhaps because this particular group was easy to get on with or perhaps because honey barbecue sauce was involved or perhaps because we weren't simply friends but brothers and sisters, this dinner became one of my happier and best memories of college. Watching L demonstrate different ways to make the sign of the cross, or M talk about the genius of the best movie score writers or all joking about the over-enthusiasm of sports spectators in the room... All of these little moments together build up one of the best moments I felt true communion with other people. I knew them and loved them and their company as siblings, and the night quenched my thirst for decent social interaction abundantly.

I think moments such as these remind me of the kind of person I am, namely a socially awkward kind. I choose to be alone not only out of frequent preference, but also out of ease. The number of truly good friendships I have is few and only after weeks without their presence do I realize that's the reason I feel unsettled and like something is missing. I believe this is the reason for my frequent nostalgic episodes. I'll spend hours thinking of the "good days," which more extroverted and gregarious people experience on a regular basis.

But this post isn't to lament my self-inflicted weirdness. It is to serve as a reminder of the good moments in my life, to remember L's studious pondering of the menu for the feast ahead, to remember M's acting out the songs she sang, to remember the ease of a new friend's inclusion to the group (or maybe I was the new one, now I think of it), to remember H's sense of pride and success at everything going smoothly. It's to remember friendship in one of its best forms, and to remind me that many more episodes of perfect friendship will occur in Paradise with all the Saints. "The communion of Saints" is more beautiful than I thought it would be.

(I wonder of St. Therese would like honey barbecue sauce.)

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