I am not a fan of organized religion. I think I may have actually begun other posts with that very sentence. But today I was in a church. Go figure.
I honestly can't remember the last time I was in a church. I usually find being in a church a bizarre combination of nostalgia, creepiness and heartbreak. It's because of how firmly and devoutly I BELIEVED when I was a kid. It was all REAL and it all meant something to me. After my first communion it all started going down hill between me and the church (Catholic). The first hit came when I found out I would never be allowed to serve mass because I'm the 'wrong' gender. I pulled myself together from that blow and decided 'Okay, nun it is.' but I was still annoyed. Then the list of things that ruined the magic and pulled back the curtain on the whole thing (religion in specific, God in general) grew and I'm not going to enumerate them here. Too yawn inducing.
I've been to services of other faiths and was always surprised by how different they were from the old school Catholicism. In a good way mostly. But it was never enough to change my mind about the whole operation or re-instill my beliefs. Today I went to a Methodist church (first for me) because they were having a Blessing of the Animals this afternoon and I thought it might be interesting. I've also had some very pleasant dealings with people who work at this church because one of my walks is nearby and someone will always run inside the church and come back out with treats for the dogs. Right there they got me. Any church that keeps cookies for the passing pooches is okay in my book. So I figured I'd give it a shot today.
Well it was really sweet! First thing that threw my head into 'explode' mode was the fact that there were two pastors and they were BOTH WOMEN! Yes. That's right. And they were DOING the service. Because (surprise-surprise) there was an actual service. I don't know what I was thinking, I figured we'd walk in, someone would say "bless you" to Gemma and that would be that. Nope. Singing, praying, Gospel stuff and Christmas Carols! Hello? I was a little upset that I was in for a 'mass'... but the entire thing was "Animals! GO!" and I can get behind that sort of show.
I got choked up. I sniffled. I could have started weeping but I held the tears back, God I'm such a wuss. But it was really lovely and kind and pretty and there was music and the place was filled with dogs. (Plus, you know, signs with my name on them. Christmas time = Joy stuff every where you go.) It made me, as churches do, miss what I used to believe in so fervently. It made me miss my belief in magic. But it was also nice to be in that environment, even without the belief, to be there without the disdain I usually feel. And I give credit for that to the fact that there were dogs every where. Because we all know what GOD spelled backwards is, don't we? That's right. And that's my kind of church.