So as I was walking along the creek beside Ballarat road on the way to a coffee all sorts of thoughts flashed through my sleepy head. About Sundays, beliefs, nuns and mothers. Specifically the sayings or truisms that were told when Sunday was such a special day a long long time ago in my youth:
Mum : ‘It’ll all come back to you, just you wait.’
The all encompasses exposing my then pudgy but quite shapely body in bathers, too short shorts, or tight skirts .
All equals being rude to my mother, refusal to clean my room or dress as she wants, bad table manners, answering back at school or at home .
All also means sitting on concrete steps with shorts and thin gear on or perching on anything that is not a chair.
Not too clear how or when it would come back to me . Suffice to say that my turn came around when I had children growing up . Perhaps the cold concrete bit is responsible for stiff limbs, and the African sun definitely a cause of horrible scaly skin .
If you sit like that you’ll end up with hunch back / frown like that and you’ll have a deep line between your eyes / scowl and … . All come true .
- Frown lines
- A stoop in shoulders
- Left eye is smaller than right
But you know what, I’m still stubborn enough to say I don’t regret the sun, shorts, squinting, refusing to do as told . ( Even if I do secretly wish I had better skin)
The big one though, from mum and from the convent school I went to in my teens, is around belief . Briefly the Belief/ God/Love one was always a bit sus. I met those concepts with varying degrees of resistance, depending on what I needed at the time . I could easily dismiss the ‘God sees everything; your body is a Sacred temple; you’ll need him someday and he won’t be there; say your prayers at night so that angels is watch over you as you sleep ‘
Lots more but if you were brought up Catholic you’ll know them . I wasn’t even particularly worried about the maleness of God as I think I just thought the naming and the gender were an easy reference point. Adults just didn’t have the words and took an easy way out.
I just knew that the hellfire and damnation bit was theatre, that God who loved could not be so petty , Most of the threats and bribes I rejected .
However from my older perspective there is something precious amongst the words we were surrounded with . Hard to pin down . But it’s a belief in the value of life, and the priority of existence . Also it’s comforting to feel , however imperfectly and tentatively, that there is something beyond this visible life .A something that we cannot grasp , just know.
I like God ( for want of a better name) being around .And I like walking .
Walking along Kororoit Creek this morning I remember those statements , threats and persuasions quite fondly. They gave order to my life. Something to resist. As I get older it is harder to find that resistance.
And Sunday is a day like any other now that my mother is no longer here .When the kids were little we reluctantly went along to the Sunday roast after Church complaining about the routine. I was unwilling or unable to sustain that ritual. We gather now as a family in a scatty way, because Sunday is no longer a special day for all of us , and we have so many things to do. A transition from the Sunday Mass/ Sunday best/ scowling drive to Church followed by the lunch.
Sundays are free. I sort of miss the old Sundays.