Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I am unsure of how old I was at the time...probably not even 10. I was at church, sitting in the pew, with my family, waiting for Mass to begin. We always arrived early, and always sat in the third row from the front, on the right hand side of the church, for 11:30 Mass, EVERY Sunday, like clockwork. A very, shall I say, "inactive" family asked us to move down, to make room for them. They were such incredibly big people. The parents, and the kids. We all moved down the pew to allow them to sit. I was sitting on the end. When the family had all sat down, they pulled the kneeler down, and all got on it, to say their prayers, as people often do, when they first are seated at Mass. ( I always wondered if people were really praying...I never was, I just felt that this was one of the strange steps that was the dance of church). However, when they placed the kneeler down on the floor, they placed it directly on top of my foot. I was wearing white, slip on, woven, peep-toe flats (it was the 80's) and the part of the kneeler, that rests on the floor, and has a rubber part, to safely bear the weight of the "kneeler" was now right on top of my foot. They knelt down so quickly, that before I could remove my foot quickly, they were all on their knees, heads bowed, eyes closed, praying. All of them. A family of four, resting all of their weight, on my foot. It must have been close to a thousand ponds. That rubber stopper was just embedded into the top of my foot. The pain was unbelievable. The pressure, so intense. I was waiting for my foot to actually break. Oddly...I said nothing. I remember just sitting there, enduring terrible pain, bearing the weight of this large family, on the small bones that extended out into my toes, and just closing my eyes, screaming inside of my head. I recall wondering what they were praying about. No one kelt that long when they first arrived at church. You knelt down quickly, closed your eyes to look like you were praying, and sat back down. No one prayed this long. Yet I sat there, and said not a word, not a yelp, not a sound. If one of my daughters were seated next to me in a pew, and this had happened to one of them, and I knew they said nothing, I would be heartbroken for them. Why would they not speak up for themselves? I think about me, sitting in that church, enduring so much pain, and feel heartbroken for that girl. Why had I not spoken up for myself? Why did I feel so embaressed, and uncomfortable, just letting the nice family sitting next to me know that the kneeler was on my foot? Did I somehow think I deserved it, because my foot was there? Did I feel I was still too young to speak up for myself? Did I feel sorry for myself, because no one even noticed that the kneeler was off kilter a little bit and didn't look to see what was wedged underneath it?
There are times in my life, well, hours in my day actually, that I scream in my head. I feel so pained by a situation, or circumstance, or I become so frustrated by something that is so out of my control, and completely unacceptable, that instead of looking like a crazy person, running around cursing and screaming, I throw a tantrum in my mind. I scream inside my head.
Today, I feel like I have a pew on my foot. I will go about my day, and remain quiet about it, but the weight of it is killing me.

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