The Hesitant Reader

Humor serves some important purposes,” he said. “First, it can remind you of your poverty of spirit. Laughing at yourself reminds you that you are a human being reliant on God just like anybody else.

In the years I have been with SMP, I have met a few people and my own community of friends and acquaintances continue to grow everyday. Ng Pin is one of those who, from being a familiar face in Church, became someone I see, share a smile with, greet, and sometimes walk with after mass.

Last Monday I texted Ng Pin (of SMP) to include Mutti in the mass. She said, “Okay, I have your card that the Parish gave to the mass readers. I’ll just give it to you when you visit.” Insert surprised reaction here.

I never really considered myself as a “Reader-Reader.” You know what I mean? Unlike the seasoned one’s who have been doing it for years now. Ma’am Marj coined the perfect phrase: “The Hesitant Reader.” I like doing things quietly and refrain from looking for applause. Yes, yes, sometimes the ego can be very convincing and that bout of vanity appears. Going to Law School has taught me many things. One of which is how to fend off conflicting/ bouncing ego’s. It gets easier when you develop a strong sense of belief, not entirely with yourself, but that in this expansive universe there are infinite possibilities of God in All Things. So, back to my case in point- my continuing growth as a Hesitant Reader to becoming a Reader.

It started one day, I think two years back, when Tita Vicky asked me to read on a Wednesday. (Though Manong Nards has been telling me that I should also read, since Bryan reads too). Luckily, I didn’t have class that evening, so I said okay. Gaaaash, I can’t help but cringe every time I remember my first SMP Reading experience. I arrived only a few minutes before the mass started. My heart was literally beating out of my chest. Oh did I say I have stage fright? And the Priest was not one of the two from the Parish. So before my brain could register all the things I should take note of- like the pages- Fr. started walking towards the altar. The fun part: I was doing okay until the part where I had to read the lines before/after the choir sings the Alleluia. It took me almost two-three minutes turning page after page, looking for those few lines to read. Tita Vicky went up to my side and said, it’s okay you don’t have to read that anymore. After that, I just flipped on one more and found the correct page, read the line, bowed, went down. CRINGE. So for months after that, I didn’t read. I would make excuses. Though deep inside me, I wanted to.

The second faux pas was just a few months ago. I’ve been called to read during the weekdays a few times before this happened. Yes we attend mass, but when you’re part of it? It’s different. It’s like you forget every part and try to learn again as the mass start-ends. This was the first time I had to walk from the back without a ‘walking partner.’ I got confused, whether I should bow along with the altar servers or do it by myself. I didn’t have someone I can follow! Panic! You know what I did? I did bow, when the altar boys bowed. Then when it was my turn, I didn’t stop before the altar and bow by myself. (Facepalm) That was during a jam packed Sunday afternoon mass. CRINGE AGAIN. After mass, Ma’am Marj (MM) just smiled and said, “na lipat ka mag-bow?” Hehe

Aaaandd…. Oh, that one dreaded (common) mistake of mispronunciation. I forgot the specific word, but it had to do with a word like ‘meeting’ and saying it this way ‘miting.’ Not so cringe worthy. Everybody makes that mistake.

But! I’ll make bawi the cringe moments with this special one-
I attended the Saturday mass after class. I was saying my hello/goodbye’s to MM and Sir Manny before going home, when she asked me if I could read for the 5PM Sunday Mass. I was very hesitant, it was the weekend before the dreaded final exams week. And I was very, very nervous. She shared with me this very good reminder (I forgot the specific line of words but it sounded like this, “Serve The Lord first -will ask her again and edit this part-).

So I made bawi and said, “Just call me Ma’am Marj (MM) incase nobody arrives.” She did call the next day. (Lesson learned from my first blunder) I went to Church thirty minutes early. So I checked the readings, waited for MM and other readers to arrive. But lo and behold when ten minutes before the mass, nobody did. Except for Bear- but he had to serve as an altar boy. And Tita Vicky- but she had to be a Lay Minister. What to do? What to do? Ng Pam arrived and asked if we needed readers. I asked her if she can be the commentator. She said no. (Gak!) Tita Vicky asked me if I can do it, since I’ve seen how the mass flows daw. Ha? Ako? But I’ve never done it! (Tunaw akon kalag kinda kulba) To make the long story short, I did read as commentator. Thankfully Tita Vicky accepted my plea to sit beside us so she can lead me along the way. Thanks to the PowerPoint operator too!

New Year Resolution: don’t be a nervous wreck.

I shared this one because Fr. James Martin, SJ said it is good to laugh at ourselves. It helps us in keeping ourselves humble. I rarely do this. And when I do, it is usually with close family and friends. What can I say? I inherited the serious disposition of my two Lolo’s. Though I’m surely working on the laugh-at-yourself thing to keep my two feet on the ground.

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