Changing Places

Changing Places

by Vera Grant AMMM          Ireland             18.11.2022
It was my seat. It was at the end of the pew and I sat there every Sunday morning for ten o’clock Mass. Over the years I had grown to recognise many, who like me sat in the same pew. What creatures of habit we are I used to think to myself.

There were times though when I felt restricted, bounded on either side by those familiar faces. Some I knew by name, others I acknowledged with a nod or when allowed, by a shake of the hand. They were faces I liked and felt fortunate in sharing the same space even if at times I had to give up my seat and move along should someone arrive late. I didn’t mind that but I felt much stronger about those who arrived late and stood in the aisle wanting to push in. Awful I know but ….

Often I wondered what was it like for those who sat on the other side. Were they watching us as we watched them? Also, they had to receive communion from the Eucharistic Minister whereas we on the right, received from the Priest. Was it something about being on God’s right hand side that we chose our places?

One morning as I pushed open the heavy wooden door I was stopped and asked to accompany a visitor. Nodding in agreement I was surprised to find myself immobilised by a firm hand on my shoulder, directing me robot style in a different direction. Instinctively I hesitated and was about to say, ‘Oh I sit over there’ but something stopped me and I allowed myself to be led to what seemed to be unfamiliar territory.

Once seated, I smiled to myself at the strangeness of the situation. I felt like Goldilocks taking someone else’s chair and I sat not quite nervously but excitedly and with a sense of boldness which made me want to laugh out loud.

Some turned round to say hello, others leaned forward to smile in greeting and some nodded in welcome. It felt good and walking home I couldn’t stop smiling at all that had happened in changing one small action.

I felt a sense of wholeness and connectedness. We all belong, anywhere, everywhere – there’s a pulse beating for you, for me, for us all.

Give it a go, one small change can bring a newness, a freshness, a lightness and it is a gift, a gift of opportunity.