Last night, the phone rang and my parents' number came up on the Caller ID. Most of the time it's Mom, but it was Dad this time. Considering it was Saturday night, I figured he wanted to talk about music.

Dad: I played for Mass tonight and the response is horrible.
He says this to warn me about singing the responsorial psalm tomorrow when I cantor, and also to try to go over it over the phone. (Which I find doesn't help me much.) I totally forgot to grab my music book from the car earlier, while I was thinking about it.

Me: I didn't look at it. And my book's in the car--the trunk, actually. Had to make room for the [ride-mooching] chili last weekend. It's dark and raining, so I'm not planning on going out to get it now.

Dad: Well, the gospel acclamation is easy, so. . .
He has a habit of not finishing his sentences. A very frequent habit.

Me: Can I just come early and go over it before Mass tomorrow?

Dad: That should be O.K. I mean, nobody's gonna be there, anyway. It's raining and next week is the Mass for the [ladies' group dedicated to the Blessed Mother], so I think it'll be fine.

This morning, as I'm walking through the church parking lot, I see my cousins' car parked there and think, Hey, cool, they're going to do the readings. (They are lectors.) But then I pass by the steps leading down to the basement and I notice the door is open. There is a wonderful coffee smell wafting up.

That's when it dawns on me: Mass is going to be the Pre-Cana Mass. As in "Option A" mentioned here.

So instead of nobody we've got a lot of somebodies, most of whom have never been in this church before because it's something like a side chapel for the parish. People who are especially somebodies today, because the focus is on their upcoming marriages--and who have been somebodies to one another since they started dating, and somebodies to their families and friends since their engagements.

I had been feeling down Friday evening, especially in regard to the dating area of my life. Or I should say the void that's been in the dating area of my life for quite some time now. (This tends to happen annually as my birthday approaches--and my cousin's wedding is coming up, too.) The void felt a bit reinforced as from my position in the choir loft I watched the couples file into the pews reserved with white ribbon bows at the front of church.

It took a lot of effort to stay composed and not think of myself as a nobody. After all, it's kind of a slap in the face to God if I'm beating myself up while I'm sitting there in His house. But it's hard to look down and see people my age and younger, who have found each other and are planning to join their lives to each other, and not feel like a failure. Not wonder if I'm ever going to sit there. I'm the only single non-senior-citizen-adult in the entire building (not counting the pastor and the college junior in the choir).

During the first reading, I'm telling myself: It's not important--let it go. Lighten up and just let your voice come out. It doesn't matter who's down there, because you're not really singing for them. It's not an audition and you don't have to prove anything. Just do the best you can do with what you have.

And it's fine, I get through the awkward phrasing, nobody's wincing. Good. Mass goes on and a few minutes later I am feeling grateful that the pastor has not tailored his homily to the engaged/married people.

After Mass, I stop downstairs in the basement where the Pre-Cana people are reconvening so I can say hi to my cousins and sneak a cup of coffee & half a sesame bagel. The cousins dish a bit about their involvement in my cousin's upcoming wedding (it's their niece) and where the seating chart currently has me. . . with them (couple!), their son & his girlfriend (couple!), my parents (couple, not to mention total buzzkill), Older Brother & SIL (couple!), and. . . Younger Sister.

Screeeee!!! Younger Sister is a singleton. A possibly-seeing-someone singleton, but for all intents and purposes at the wedding reception, a singleton.

So we're in the same boat, at least for that evening. And odds are fairly good that there will be other people next weekend, all over the country, maybe even the continent, in the same boat as well.

That many people--it can't be "wrong" to be this way, for whatever reason.

In that light, the nobody feeling recedes a bit.


Anonymous said…
Oh Kate! I definitely know how you feel. I know I'm several years younger than you but in this area, you're a old maid by 22 if you aren't engaged...I'm ancient. To reinforce that, a classmate recently said he stopped dating a girl my age because he wondered why she wasn't married...surely there was something wrong with her! (It took every fiber in my body not to mention the fact that he looks nearly twice his age...perhaps that's what's wrong with him!)
I was once at a wedding seated by my mother (my dad couldn't come), an empty seat, my also single friend, another empty seat, and her parents. My friend and I dubbed the seats our boyfriends.
Mr. Bingley said…
After all, it's kind of a slap in the face to God if I'm beating myself up while I'm sitting there in His house.

On the contrary, His house is exactly the place to beat yourself up. It's where we can expose our deepest held fears, feelings and failures, whether they are justified or not, and give them up unto His love.
Lizzie said…
On the West coast I feel like a young married couple. At 26 I'm pretty sure we were the youngest in our Pre-Cana group. And at 29, I was a VERY young mother by Seattle standards. I guess people here wait longer and longer for marriage.

(Yet another reason to come out here: my mom came for a visit and we went for a walk around the lake and she got hit on TWICE. Me? Ignored.)
Lizzie said…
Um... and by "I" feel like a young married couple, I mean "I feel like WE ARE a young...." Here's to correct grammar.
Kate P said…
AC22--Hey, how's it going? Sounds as if that classmate was looking for something to be wrong with his date--how cynical. That "empty seat boyfriends" joke was funny! Empty seats will definitely share their cake with you, even if they're not much for dancing!!!

Bingley--well, I was coming from the "God doesn't make trash" angle, but I see what you're saying. . . turning to God for comfort and healing sounds like a good idea, too. I just think He's sick of hearing me say I'm a failure in the relationship department. ;)

Lizzie--you and Bubba DO look like total youngsters, even with a kid in tow! Your mom got hit on!? You must get your pretty hair from her! And I gotta book that trip to Seattle. (Props for fixing your grammar--hee.)
Lindsay said…
I will be emailing you sometime in the near future, possibly tomorrow or some other day this week. I've been super busy with my thesis, but you--you I need to email.
Kate P said…
Hey, Lindsay! Looking forward to your e-mail, kiddo.

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