Thursday, April 28, 2011

An ending... and a new beginning...

As the Mass Chaos journey (the "official" one, anyway) ends, I want to take the chance to reflect not on the parishes we've visited, the readings we heard, or the experiences we've had, but instead, on the PEOPLE who made this such a special and unforgettable experience.

Eric - Mass Chaos wouldn't exist without Eric's dedication. With the tumultuous year I had personally, I don't think I would have made it through the Mass Chaos journey without Eric's steadfastness. He was my cheerleader and my friend. He was the one who kept us focused on the journey - remembering that we were here to celebrate our "3 F's - Faith, Friends, Food." Eric was the one who took the lead - scheduling our visits, keeping the blog updated, tracking our attendance. What began as a silly idea that three friends came up with a year ago became something so much more than an idea, but a reality thanks to his hard work.

Joe - I think I've learned more from Joe than anyone on this Mass Chaos journey. Where my faith is loud, Joe's is quiet. Where my faith is liberal, Joe's is conservative. Where my faith falters, Joe's has been steadfast. (Joe, I apologize if I'm taking too many liberties with assuming your beliefs.) One of the moments I will remeber from Mass Chaos more than any other was the conversation (or arguement, some will say) that transpired on the sidewalk in front of the 11Worth Cafe after attending mass at St. Peter. If you were there, you'll remember. What impressed me most about this conversation was how well spoken Joe was - so firm in his faith and able to articulate his beliefs. I gained a whole heap of respect for Joe that day, and think our friendship has deepened as a result of our experiences together.

Frank (O.) - Coming into this adventure, I know I wasn't the only one who thought of Frank (and Joe)... or Joe (and Frank) as one unit. Not fair, at all, to either one of them. It was fun, learning to see Frank as Frank! I liked sitting near Frank at mass, because I never felt bad saying what was on my mind, no matter how silly or irreverent. We absolutely had quite a few "giggle" moments in the past year. I think Frank and I took a liking to a lot of the same churches, so it was nice to share that with someone.

Frank (I.) & Lindsay - I am going to keep Frank and Lindsay as a unit, because they do come together! I met Frank and Lindsay for the first time the week before I filed for divorce... the week where I went to the wrong church and ended up 30 minutes late to mass... The week where I showed up crying (and cried through the whole mass). That week was not at all representative of my relationship with Frank and Lindsay. Usually, when we are together, it is all laughs, goofy faces, and fun! I wish I had met them sooner, and look forward to continuing a friendship with them.

Teri - My favorite story about Teri is the very first time she came to Mass Chaos. Not knowing any of us, she opened her home to us and made us breakfast. I consider myself an outgoing person, but to invite a group of "strangers" home with me would be way outside of my comfort zone. I think Teri is one of the warmest, most welcoming people I've ever met. I was really glad she took a chance by coming the first time, and has become one of the "core" group who made Mass Chaos possible.

Jen & Patrick - Jen and Patrick are another "Mass Chaos couple," though I've had the chance to get to know them separately. Jen was one of the original "creators" of Mass Chaos - having been there the Holy Thursday night where Joe, Eric, Jen and I came up with the crazy idea. With her move to Lincoln, we have missed her presence some near the end of the journey! Patrick and I got a chance to rock out the "Mass Chaos/More Massive Chaos" bowling league together (he's an excellent bowler!), and it was fun to see him outside of mass.

Ron - Ron was another one of my partners in crime... we spent quite a few masses laughing under our breath (or sometimes out loud). He always knows what to say to make me smile or laugh, and I loved sitting next to him at mass and hearing him switch from English to Spanish and back again. We appreciated his ability to help us out at the foreign language masses, and willingness to let us say "what?" and "huh?" every two minutes, and still answer us every time.

Marilou - Meeting Marilou has been an adventure - we had a lot of stories to share together about our experiences in the Catholic church, and I feel blessed she was there with us through the latter half of this journey. Also, I got to see her grow as a person (and as a bowler!) in the past few months.

Beth - Beth not only brought us a connection to Theology on Tap, she brought her bowling skills (or lack of) to the Mass Chaos league! I love that Beth came across as very serious at first, but I got to see her open up, laugh a little, and smile a lot!

There are so many people who made this journey amazing, blessed, silly, fun, full of growth, exciting... so many things cross my mind when I think about the "cast of characters" of Mass Chaos (my apology if I've forgotten anyone):

Marcus, Maggie, Ben (P.), Ben (C.), Kat, Kit, Katie, Kevin, Julia, Vesper, Mandi, Anna, Vivian, Matt, Merinda, Beth, Tom, Andy, Amy, Shannon, Ruth, Karen, Mark, Jenna, Morgan, my family (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, Nonnie)...

It is amazing how many people we've met along the way, and how each of them have touched my life. Thank you, each and every one of you, for being my friends on the journey. I will continue to keep each of you in my prayers, and look forward to further developing our relationships!

Two are better than one: they get a good wage for their labor.
If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion.

Woe to the solitary man!

For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up.
So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm.

How can one alone keep warm?
Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist.

A three-ply cord is not easily broken.

~Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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