changing my church perspective

I have been in this parish for many years.  In that time we very seldom sit in the same place twice.  We sort of gravitate to the same area, but different rows and different sides of them.  Not so for everyone ... some people have their spot and they sit there week in and week out ... years long ..... that is great for them also.  

Now a few weeks ago the church was jam packed and we had to go and sit right up front. The very front.  And in addition we sat in a section that we have only sat in once or twice. 

Suddenly we were almost in line with the altar.  For the first time I glimpsed the back of the priest while he was doing the Homily.  I could see the colour of the altar server's eyes.  It was the weirdest feeling.  In addition we were also at an angle so for the first time the people in the 2 adjacent sections could partly be seen from the front - which was a little disconcerting because it felt like people were looking at us all the time.  The best description was the front carriage of the rollercoaster.  We were too close, too involved, it eventually started to become uncomfortable for me.  

During Communion people passed across in front of us and it took us only 4 minutes to work out that with us kneeling and praying, our arms were seriously getting in everyone's way, so we resorted to a sort of arms down praying stance which was awkward. 

On to 2 weeks ago when I left the Repository a little late and had to dash across to the church.  Again very full so I did something I have never done in the many years worshipping there .... I went up the stairs and sat at the top little section where the board operator does.  I have never actually found out what the purpose of this section is, but I am assuming it is where the choir would sit ..... have to ask our Priest this one.  

Now this was a completely different perspective.  Firstly it is high.  And I sat directly behind the hip high wall, right in front (one would think I would have learnt).  The entire time whenever we stood I felt like someone in a witness box and whenever we sat I felt like a member of the jury.  Everyone down below faces forward.  We face their ears, looking directly at the opposite wall.  I had now moved from being literally right up there by the Priest, to a sense of "disjointedness" .... He was now a part of a lot of people below and I found the movement that ripples through a church to be interesting to watch because when you sitting amongst the people you do not see how many actually are walking in and out during a Mass.  

So I went from feeling too up close and personal in a Mass to feeling like I was watching from a different room.  A bit like I had been sent to the naughty corner.  I left feeling unfulfilled. 

The only more interesting place was the day I sat in the cry chapel ..... that is a whole other story, suffice to say I spent most of the Mass rolling a ball back and forward to a child I do not know.    I can still remember that from my own kids being little .... at least 15 years ago. 

So this week, this week we returned to a more regular spot, not too close, not too far.  

However this all made me think about perspective.  How two little moves in the church building had completely altered how I perceived those taking part in the Mass, the Homily, the traditions, the people in attendance and my whole experience of the Mass. 

And since then it has been on my mind .... maybe we need to do this in other areas in our lives ...... especially to do with other people.  It is not just about driving a different route to work, drinking out of a different cup, brushing your teeth with the other hand .... how about changing how you look at someone?  

Lately I am contending with someone who has it pretty wrong about me.  This person, I have realised, thinks something about me ..... they are wrong, and they have not stated it out loud, but a hundred little things have suddenly added up, little comments etc.   I am waiting for them to make their move and state it out loud, but my great disappointment is that this person knows me well, and yet he has got this so very wrong.  So how many other times do we do this to others? 

So step back, or step closer,  relook at some of the people that you judge and see if perhaps with a little movement on your part, there is not something you missed before.  

till soon, 

c'est la vie xxx


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