Summertime! Warm breezes, gorgeous skies, the sun glistening off Chicago's lakefront and the slight breezes rustling the trees ever so gently. That, my friends, is my favorite sound in the world!
The reality is that the blistering heat is upon us! The sun hurts my eyes, the heat feels claustrophobic and the only way the trees are rustling would be if I climbed up there and shook them!
But you really know that summer is upon us when you gaze down at the church bulletin and see the segment that reminds us how to dress appropriately for church!
Some would say that we should dress appropriately in God's house and others say that it doesn't matter as long as you go to church. Most churches aren't air-conditioned and if they are, the pastor is trying to keep that bill to a minimum. And who can blame him?
Unfortunately the heat got the better of me a couple of weeks ago. My stomach was bothering me all morning (I'll spare you the details). We got to church, rehearsed the Mass and were ready to go.
Now mind you, I had a sun dress on with wide shoulder straps. At the Presentation, I started getting a little winded. The notes weren't coming out and I was feeling a little lightheaded. I sat down and let my friend sing. I got up to try again and the whole church began to spin! I needed to get out of there!
My friend Karen (who I sing with) turned to me and said, "Go downstairs! I've got this!" Those words will forever ring in my ears as a true sign of friendship!
I motioned to my husband that I was leaving and headed for the "community room" right underneath the church. As soon as I hit that air-conditioned enclave, I felt better, but I wasn't taking any chances. I sat down on one of the sofas, closed my eyes and held my head. I contemplated going upstairs to finish the Mass, but decided one exit was enough.
Since I am in the choir and I'm visible to parishioners and visitors, I believe in dressing "appropriately," yet comfortably. My not feeling well contributed more to the church spinning than possibly the heat, but who knows?
Years ago, attending probably the hottest day in church that I can remember, the associate pastor, with sweat dripping down his face, got up to give the homily. He announced the topic and then said he would save it for another time and wished us all a wonderful weekend! He immediately sat down to stunned silence and a collective sigh of relief!
As I gaze out at the congregation while I'm singing, I'm not really concerned about what everyone is wearing. I'm just glad to see smiling faces looking back at me.
When you attend church this weekend, look out for yourself as well as the elderly parishioner who might need assistance in this heat.
Say a prayer for the priest under all those vestments and for the few who might not be "appropriately" dressed. This might be a long summer!