He is not here for HE IS RISEN as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6
This morning I woke up with a smile on my face and a light in my heart because we were celebrating Jesus’ resurrection! After scarfing down two delicious cinnamon rolls, I slid into a brightly patterned dress and finished getting ready for Mass. The five of us then piled into our car and headed for the 10 a.m. Mass knowing full-well it was only 9:15 a.m. and we lived only 10 minutes away. We expected this Mass to be packed in order to accommodate the “Cafeteria Catholics,” or those who only attended Mass on major religious holidays.
As we crossed the vestibule, my heart soared as I caught a glimpse of the altar. On Good Friday, the altar was stripped of all decorations including candles, plants, flowers, etc. Today, the alter was flooded with white lilies and beautiful candles. I was so excited to be there with my family, and then I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned and saw the mother of my ex (the one I dated for almost five years). Seeing her was not a surprise because I often saw her and her husband on Sundays. The surprise was her response to my comment: “I thought you’d be in Nashville for Easter.” My ex, had been residing in Nashville for quite some time. Her response was quick, “He’s here today.” All at once my mind began to spin. He was here? I was quick to ask her to clarify, “He’s here at Mass with you?” She replied, “Yes, he and his girlfriend should be here shortly.”
My mind continued to race. It had been over two years since our breakup, and in that time we had never been in the same place. My palms grew sweaty and my knees grew weak as we continued to walk toward the pews. “Well tell him I would love to say hi and meet his girlfriend.” I shuddered at the words my mouth had decided to spout out. I DID NOT want to meet his girlfriend nor did I want to speak to him. It’s not that I had anything against him or his girlfriend, I just knew it would be weird. She and I parted ways, and I went and collapsed next to my mom. I still could not believe what I’d said. I knew the minute he arrived, his mom would regurgitate my exact words.
I tried to put it all out of my mind as I entered into silent prayer before Mass. The church continued to fill and soon the opening song broke out. Easter Mass is one of my favorite services because of the music, homily and feeling of joy, and Mass today was no different. The choir’s sound was full and beautiful; the homily was insightful and inspiring; and joy was bursting from my heart and soul. My anxious feelings didn’t return until the final hymn concluded and everyone started moving toward the vestibule. It was then that I had to make a decision. Talk to my ex and meet his new girlfriend? Or run? Disappear? Fly away? I wished the last two options were possible.
My family and I remained in our pew for a few minutes while we waited for the crowds to vanish. I then followed my family to the vestibule for a family photo. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw his mother point me out, but without acknowledging any of them I continued toward the vestibule. After we got our family photo taken care of, I scanned the vestibule to see if they were lurking around. With no confirmed sighting, I ventured out to the parking lot. I felt a strange knot in my stomach. It was a mixture of relief and regret. I was relieved I’d avoided such an awkward situation, but regretted not speaking to him. What would he have said? What would I have said? Would we have hugged or shaken hands? What would his girlfriend have acted like? All of these questions would go unanswered because of the choice I made: avoidance.