The Morning After

St Mary's church, dubai As the priest walks down the aisle blessing the parishioners with holy water on that fine Easter Sunday morning mass, heads were bowed down in reverence and joy of the feeling that they’ve reached the day – He has risen! I sat in church for a good hour and a half waiting for some divine intervention to cure me of whatever it is that was bugging me (let’s minus the children crying and the few special people who could never switch off their phones in church). Prayer after prayer with eyes closed hoping the lyrics of the hymn could seep into my head and take me away in some Tumblr picturesque scene, I gave up. After several eye closing, forced silence and perhaps some eye rolling through mass, I was on my knees after receiving Holy Communion. The host melting on my tongue made me think where the wafer came from, the texture was different this time. I’ve always been an externally jumpy kid with a very a serious train of thought; when a school snob would tell me to get lost, she had another thing coming. I was way ahead of her. Lost in my head, lost in my thoughts and that day, I also lost my heart. insert cheesy soundtrack It all happened so easily, you know, like a thief in the night stealing your mobile phone. I don’t know where that example came from. Easter for the non-Catholic readers is the day Jesus resurrected from the dead. It’s a big thing in the Catholic world, almost bigger than Christmas. There is a forty day fast prior to this whole thing; letting go of all forms of sex, alcohol, good (naughty) food, smoking, cussing and all the obvious bad stuff. Okay fine, noted. Then there’s a tricky bit here where you’re successfully surviving your fast however fourteen days in, I noticed there is this internal warfare of the mind and spirit.

“I want to but I can’t. But I actually can but I shouldn’t. But who would know? You would know and God too!”

So you kick yourself around some more for a week and notice the weakened determination / resilience towards your environment. Finding yourself cussing about like a sailor and popping a few candies and some crime scenes repeated in the mind due to typical office politics. Surrounded by ultra holy friends and the ones that openly admit they’re dunce about the fasting process so why bother? You kind of melt back into yourself ashamed you gave in and confused what to do next because well, you messed up. This fasting business is a sham! You get hurt and it makes you all soft inside. It’s not in this destructive way where it scrapes you inside out but rather it makes you fall apart. Stripped bare for all vulnerabilities and insecurities to see you for who you really are. A colleague living close to my place asked if I’d like to come to mass with her last year, afraid she’d try to convert me but I went with it anyway. She did, I never told her this. We came and sat separately that day and as the priest began to pray, I heard a familiar surname offered for the mass. It was for her mom, she passed away. That day, my colleague became a friend. I go with her every year since. Two years ago I prayed I could get a car so I don’t have to worry about going to church every week (the church is in the middle of a desert with no lights and no proper roads). My shiny wish was granted – now every week I always wanted to offer a lift to the people who walked back and forth from the long unlit road just to attend mass. I always end up watching them walk by, a few weeks ago I changed my mind and mustered the courage to ask. Rolling my windows down to offer a ride and asking the two ladies whereabouts I could drop them to, I find out they lived in the apartment below mine. I was told the words “I Love You” is hard to come out of my lips; it apparently takes a lot out of me. It does, it really does. An old friend and I had this thing; we’d talk every week continents apart without fail, we’d talk for hours about our day and our lives. He’d always call first. He’d always check up. He’d say, “I miss you”. He’d say, “Have a great day”. I’d say my infamous, “Thanks, goodnight from Dubai”. One day he woke up with an epiphany and realized what he had to do in life. I pause and silently type back “I love you and you’ll be fine”. Response – “I love you too, Party. I mean, Patty. But I love party too.” My friend is an idiot and he cracks me up every single time. If you’ve reached this part of my blog then you’ve realized the importance of time in this whole fasting process. Easter asks us of forty days, I took about seven hundred thirty to get to where I am. In the sermon, the priest brought us back to the tomb of Jesus where they found the large stone rolled away and his body missing. The tomb symbolized our caves of denial, insecurities and personal burdens; we hide in them and sometimes we become them. The rolling of the stone is the unblocking of all that is hidden and bringing it to light. The sun in its initial effect burns and blinds us temporarily because we played in the dark too long. We get aired out to dry, its awkward but you get used to it. Time is a funny thing. They say it takes time to forgive those who hurt you and as I listed out all the people and incidents in my head whilst the painted glass windows blinded me with its beautiful colors, I find my heart in my mouth after all this while. Forgive me for I have sinned, it’s been awhile but I promise I’ll keep trying. For now, belated Happy Easter, friends.

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