Standing, trembling, in the pew
listening to the ancient ritual,
automatically responding in age-old words
(that now, somehow, have new meaning)
to the exhortations of the priest,
my Inner Children are wide-eyed
with wonder at the well known
story of death and resurrection,
their faith pure and hopeful,
their trust absolute.
I watch them, kneeling/sitting/standing,
hands clasped with fervor and belief,
heads bowed with reverence
and long for their innocence,
their certainty, their unquestioning commitment.
My eyes are fixed, too, on the Holiest of Holies,
grateful to be at this Easter vigil Mass,
once my favorite service of the year.
How can I become free of the religious hurts
the judgments and betrayals
the 'less than', the very second best
femaleness of who I am
and reconcile with
this patriarchal structure
that is certain it knows what is best for me
though that rejoining always seem to involve
a sacrifice of self and identity that is simply
Yet...I miss the soothing rituals, the lullaby and
instruction of scripture and homily, and yet
the old anger burns
low but steady.
The lash of damnation will never be allowed
to cut my spiritual skin again, but
the joy of faith and service...
ah, it calls to me.
As does that Presence, strongest during
the familiar Consecration, that healing,
the Oneness so complete.
Yet...it burns. And I do not know how to be