Monday, June 22

On fathers, communion, & pizza

A month ago I took communion sitting in an ordinary wooden pew. I prayed that God would help me let some things go. I think this is a prayer nearly every twenty-something prays when they think about how they grew up, no matter how fun or fulfilling their childhood was.

You get older and you want to be the forgiver and the forgiven, the absolute freest version of yourself. So I broke the stiff wafer and drank the too-sweet juice and walked out through the double doors. It was a Sunday.

Father’s Day and I have a history, tangled and thorny and only recently a little bit less heavy. I’m sure many people feel the same, if you throw open wide the suitcase of your heart and start pulling out the things you’ve carried with you all these years.

Say father and you pull at everyone’s story, light and dark, good and bad, in between and in mending.

We were supposed to have lunch together this year with my dad. For various reasons, people canceled one by one. My dad stood in the hallway with his eyes big and said, “Are you going to have lunch with us?” He got quiet for a moment. “Not many people are coming.”

I could have found a million polite ways to say no, thank you, and maybe another year I would have. I’m mostly vegetarian and gluten-free, and I hadn’t planned on eating the pizza they ordered or most of the food they prepared. Yet I realized, in that moment, that he was trying. That he was a human who had been trying for quite awhile to be different, which is not at all easy.

Love is an easy thing when it shows up neatly at church; it gets messy when it shows up and says pick me. Pick me now.

The more I take communion, the more it seems to take me back to my own kitchen table—back to the people I love dearly. Isn't it so messy and human that the same people you love dearly are the ones you hurt and are hurt by?

Despite the messes we make and unmake of each other, we always seem to circle back time and time again, slowly making things right. We scootch the table over and find more chairs, because in the end, what else is there to do but gather?

Sometimes communion is the wafer and the juice.

Sometimes it shows up in church, and that’s a good thing.

Today communion was pizza, salty and crispy at the edges and lemonade with a twist of tartness.

Today communion was showing up at the table and realizing that we are all broken people breaking bread together, and the crazy, maddening, beautiful mystery is that none of us are worthy–but we are all invited just the same.