We arrived at church a little later that we like to, we were not yet late but the service was set to begin only minutes after we arrive. As I've written before, the ramp into the church is very steep and requires a lot of concentration for us to get up the ramp and then through the door and into the sanctuary. Because of the time there were several people bustling about the area. I kept feeling in the way as people who had important things to do were obviously inconvenienced by having to step around us. One woman, in a choir robe, actively glared as she went by.
Entering church while thinking, 'Bitch,' isn't really a good way to get into the spirit of the event, but then life never goes the way expected. As the service got going I kept glancing at her. As she sang with the choir she adopted one of those 'holy' looks that people get when they want to look, well, 'holy'. I began to find a deep anger burn within me. It took me by surprise at the force and the fury of the blaze. I began to think about hypocrisy and suddenly nothing seemed right. It was all silly. Why was I there with these people? Why had we bothered to come? Why had I struggled up the stairs.
I shook my head, I was still in control enough to know that this was a real over reaction. Good heavens she had only given me a cross look. Was I looking for offense? Was I willing to find something wrong in the place? Did I need a reason for giving up on church altogether? What was going on? Hymns came and went, the service flowed over me and then something, I don't know what, captured my attention and I was drawn away from the trough of negativity.
A while later I looked back at her and realized that she looked so much like, so very much like, a girl from high school who had been at the heart of my social exile. She even smiled like her. She, too, affected a beatific manner. Oh my, Oh my oh my, oh my ... this wasn't about the choir singer at all. This was about me. About unresolved issues. This was about what I brought into the place. My baggage, yet unpacked from childhood.
How much of what I experience isn't really about others at all? How much of my experiences are about me and about what I bring to the situation? How many of my judgements are convicting the wrong person for the right crime?
Now I even wonder if she looked crossly at me at all. Did I simply see her resemblence to a former tormentor and then layer a memory onto a situation? Why has it taken over 50 years to realize I am part of every interaction ... I am the only constant in my life ... and therefore I am equally suspect.
Maybe even moreso.