Today was the day of prayer for religious-ed types at a beautiful convent/nursing home in Ipswich, sponsored by the Archdiocese. Last year's was great, with a wonderful speaker who spoke to us like the professional professionals that we are. Oh and it was at Gonzaga retreat house in Gloucester, overlooking a rocky ocean shore. Ahhh.
This year's was, as I said, at a lovely convent/nursing home, with lush green lawns and ticks, we were warned, and turkeys that would attack us, I guess. I dunno. The speaker, too, was lovely, but not life-altering. Too bad, really.
ANYWAY, the point of my story is that our staff was there, our wonderful wonderful staff, and a bunch of other people. My former staff was there from my former parish, including so many great and wonderful people who had made my time there good. But also, my replacement was there, and the person who had been my supervisor... I felt my blood pressure spike a bit when she walked in, old resentments and un-expressed tongue lashings fresh again. It was, like I've written before here, like being at an ex-boyfriend's family wedding. SO good to see some people, so tense seeing that ex.
But then we went to Mass, and I ended up next to her. I knew what was coming.
I read (and have taught, so I hope it's true) that the sign of peace at Mass is really about making peace before Communion. It's to remind us of this scripture, and so, when we turn and shake hands or meet eyes with the people around us, we're supposed to be making sure we've forgiven and have been forgiven by the other members of our faith community.
And there I was, next to the woman who really did not help me in my time of need- who, I felt, had betrayed me, who I just really don't like, darnit. I've prayed about it, worked on it, let it go and caught it back again.
I pulled myself together and did a quick examination of conscience, and worked myself up to a stage of forgiveness that would allow me to shake hands with her, look her in the eye and wish her peace. Because, you know, I do wish her peace. I think one reason she was was so disappointing to me as a supervisor and a co-worker is related to her having a real lack of courage, and that must be a pretty un-peaceful way to be. Think that's good enough for Communion?