Happy May Day! Truthfully, over the past month, I’ve muttered the phrase “mayday” more than once, but the purpose of this post is to discuss the merry (Mary?) month of May.
I remember this from when I was a child:
Rise up, the children of their house, all in your rich attire,
For the summer springs so fresh, green, and gay;
And all the hair upon your heads shines like the silver wire;
Drawing near unto the merry month of May.
When I was a child, my mother would make these precious little woven baskets and place fresh daffodils and other flowers from our garden and then my brother and I would go put them on peoples front door. Such a fun memory. I seem to recall us doing this many years over, it was so special.
Another strong memory of May is the uber religious crowning of Mary. All of us at St. Dunstan Catholic would haul out into the church gardens and place a crown of flowers upon the “head” of the statue of Mary. I got to do it one year- I remember the excitement of being picked to be the one to crown. In retrospect, I fear that the selection had nothing to do with me, but rather my height and my mothers insane levels of involvement in the church. Let’s skim over that shall we and focus on the fact that I got to wear a peach dotted swiss dress that day. Funny the things we remember, right?
The song will forever stick within my brain – I might not remember who last I spoke to, but I will always be able to sing this one:
See, somewhere along the way, I got out of the daily practice of church stuff. Growing up exceptionally Catholic- both in mentality and lifestyle, engrained a deep sense of service, sacrifice and well, jacked up knees from spending so much time on a kneeler.
Church was a part of the first 25 years of my life. Mass was as much a part of the routine as showering and/or weekly grocery shopping. Little by little, I grew up and found my relationship with church changing. Not for good, not for bad, but instead defining different boundaries and repositioning the place of church in my life. To be clear, the church, as a building changed, not the faith/beliefs or any of the other stuff.
Catholic life up north made sense. Little less down here, but I’m also older and don’t quite fit into one of the typical Catholic family constructs. That’s ok. Over the years, I realize that I don’t actually need the building to stay a good person.
I don’t need to thump my chest and tell the world about my deeds and/or misdeeds.
I don’t need to gad about bragging about the works that are done in his name, by my hands.
See, over the years, I’ve determined that religion is for me, something I hold close to my heart. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have all of the bible verses memorized for easy doling out. I don’t talk about it often, because I find that very few things are so divisive as faith. One of my favorite people in the whole damn world is an Atheist and I love his convictions just as much as I adore a friend who consistently asks me to join her in church. I thinks perhaps my fine Catholic upbringing (heh) taught me to be a touch more tolerant of all faiths, or lack there of, because we were taught to look for the good in people, instead of the fixable flaws. I do love though that every May 1, I wake up humming “queen of the angels, queen of the May.” I may not practice weekly in a Church, but I have to believe this makes me no less of a good person?
I have a running joke with one of my friends about my goal to get through a day without breaking a commandment. Or as a child, we liked to assign rankings to the sins “is this a venial sin or a mortal sin?”
“According to Roman Catholicism, a venial sin is a lesser sin that does not result in a complete separation from God and eternal damnation in Hell as an unrepented mortal sin would.”
Sigh. So many rules. Can you imagine being in Grade 2, prepping for First Communion, reciting the above definition “unrepented mortal sin?” Mon Dieu, that’s a lot for a kid to consume. No wonder why we were always trying to figure out how to drink a little extra communion wine.
How about living by one rule? Thou shall not be a dickhead. Thou shall not be an asshole to others. Thou shall aim to do no harm to your people. Actually, a few years ago, I wrote this lovely op-ed on what I consider to be the Eleventh Commandment. You can read it here.
Bottom line, I look to the month of my with clear eyes and a hopeful heart that it genuinely won’t be the asskicking that was April. April sucked. Sucked bigly. Or to quote the guy that has the nuke codes “it was a disaster.”
No seriously, April really sucked. I can’t even quite articulate all of the ways that April took a top shelf deuce in the toilet of life, but it did. I cried in April. I mean, I cried A LOT. I was frustrated, annoyed and just generally angry most of the month. I woke up today, optimistic that May will be better. I need to get back to the hashtag of the year #40yearsofzeroeffs. I doled out WAY TOO MANY EFFS last month.
May has a clean slate.
I’ve not yet figured out a way to screw up May.
Let the month begin…
and ps… i’m not quite sure why this is such an overly dramatic video, but I do like the song: