After two years of sitting at home, I look forward to every religious ceremony that takes place now.
I haven’t worn a suit in a while. In some ways that’s a good thing – it means no funerals, but it also means no hooleys, shindigs or knees. Covid put a stop to our gallop and during that time I just assumed I could comfortably sit at home eating brownies, blondies and just about anything made with several pounds of butter, and that my body wouldn’t change that much. Last Saturday morning was a rude awakening as I struggled to find a suit in the wardrobe that still suited me, as my second son was on his first communion.
It might have been a while since I had to dress up, but this was not a situation where I could risk dressing up. You never want to be one of those devotees in chinos and polo shirts who don’t seem to understand that Jesus is really just a celestial Anna Wintour and that when he throws a party you have to put in the effort; no one wore chinos to the Last Supper, which was truly the Met Gala of its day.
But while you have to be formal, you also need a good fit, because kneeling, standing, and sitting during a religious ceremony puts all the seams under additional strain and the possibility of a busted seam. is rather high. It’s hard to mock the chino wearer when you’re present in the house of the Lord with a seat of split trousers revealing yellowed Tesco boxers. My atheism isn’t so blatant that I want to moon half the congregation at Midleton Church.
A discussion had taken place where it was suggested that I should buy myself a new suit, but in this economy that would never happen. Instead, we broke the seal on our meager savings account and repaired what we could around the house. It got to the point where we spent so much money painting and decorating that we didn’t have much left for the outfit of the child whose holy day it was, and so it ended up being one of those chinos, though we splashed on a dickiebow for him trying to elevate his laid-back yacht club look to something resembling reverence.
Naturally, almost all the other children wore a costume, but no matter – he received communion, did not catch fire and we all came home to show my hastily painted window sills, freshly dampened rooms with Febreze and the cleanest toilets in Western Europe to your friends and family. Everyone ate, drank and were merry, and it was what you would call a special day, blessed with glorious sunshine, good food and family – regardless of the fact that many of us hadn’t seen the inside of a church with regularity. since the 1990s.
This begs the question – after religion, what will we do for rituals and rites of passage like this? What replaces the big day, when we all cram into ill-fitting finery and almost collapse from heat stroke in a church parking lot? I think it’s a sign that I’m getting older that I look forward to religious ceremonies like weddings, communions and christenings – you can dodge a birthday party or decline the invitation to a normal social function, but religious events are another story.
After two years of sitting around the house in my stretchy pants eating cake, I would have thoughtlessly accepted an invitation to an exorcism if there had been a buffet afterwards, but it was a beautiful day nonetheless. – and best of all was seeing my son beaming from ear to ear, being the center of attention rather than just receiving his usual quota of just 25% of the attention in a home where it’s easy to blend into the background. All my children deserve to be in the forefront at least two days a year, to be photographed with and by everyone, to be allowed to drink several liters of cola, to eat pizza and to spend the day running around like crazy, with almost no adult supervision except that of the Holy Spirit.