Today (August 15th, that is, this post is being written close to the midnight hour) is the Feast of the Dormition, or Assumption, for you Romans. Every holy day, I approach church with a bit of fear and sadness...hoping that I'll be wrong, that there will be more people, and then sadly realizing that I was right. No one comes.
We only had ten people at Divine Liturgy this evening. Yes, ten. 10.
The boy altar server
Boy's father and one of his sisters
90 year old woman who still drives herself, God Bless her
A couple in their 70s
A recently widowed 70 something man
Oh yeah, and me. *waves* Chris was working until 7, which was the exact same time that DL started. There is no way he would make it, but Father excused him on Sunday.
I raced up to the city where our church is after I got out of work at 6. A patron had a question for me as I was trying to leave, so I didn't get into the car until 6:10. I made it to [city] with minutes to spare. I brought flowers from our garden for our Theotokos. No one else did. (Yes, they sat in my car all day. I cracked the windows, made sure they had plenty of water, and parked in the shade. It was a beautiful day and not too hot, which helped. They did well, see?)
|I now have a smart phone. With a camera.|
I also channeled Priest's Wife--last night, I assembled our dinner in the crock pot, and got that going before I left the house this morning, before 8:30. I cooked extra rice and steamed vegetables last night so that we didn't have to worry about those tonight. Just heat up a plate, and add the crock pot chicken on top.
I didn't get home until well after 9 pm, thanks to the state of CT deciding to do all road improvements during the summer at night. The usual 40 minute ride home from church took another 20 minutes. I had a very full day and I still managed to "do it all" or do most of it all ;-)
I don't understand why me, the one who grew up Roman, who lives ~45 minutes away and worked 9 hours before driving to DL, still made it to church, by herself, and so many other people can't or won't. That's why I feel like crying, that I put in so much and get so little out of it. And yes, I know it's not about me. It's about God and all of that. And I feel like I'm good with that stuff. But if our church dies, because of low numbers, then that's not going to help anyone's relationship with God, and how we serve Him as we worship. Indirectly, it's a mutually beneficial relationship.
Also making me sad: the lack of community aspect in our parish. That the only other young people (around our ages) do not engage with Chris or me. I have a few theories as to why, and I hesitate to say what they are at the risk of being called paranoid. Chris and I go back and forth about this: he thinks that a parish shouldn't be for socialization, but as a woman, I think my viewpoint is skewed because most women crave community, belonging, fellowship, sisterhood, whatever you want to call it. It shouldn't be wrong to want that from where you worship, from the place/events that shape your life. In a perfect world, I'd have a church community not so far away from my home, that I might run into people from church at the grocery store, at the library, at the garden center...and get to know them a little better, more organically than a few minutes as we're walking out of the church door to our cars each week.
Speaking of Priest's Wife, she is looking for suggestions on how our little Eastern Catholic parishes can survive and thrive. If you have something to add, she's all ears. (Or would it be eyes since this is print?)