Having lived most of my life in the lower percentiles of height, there is a part of me that still believes I won’t really be an adult until I’ve grown another few inches. This hopeless aspiration is the reason you will find me most days in some sort of high heel. My shoe choices, combined with a gait that has been charitably described as “deliberate”, result in quite the clatter when I enter a room.
After work today I went off to practice, and happened to be leaving the music room while adoration was going on in the chapel. Mass was in about twenty minutes and I had nowhere to be, so I figured I’d take the quiet moments of prayer, then stay for mass.
Not long ago that would have terrified me. Walk into a room of people praying silently, piously? I am not one thrown into ecstasies at the sight of a monstrance. I laugh in Church (and at work, and at home, and at the bank, and in the car). I don’t have pictures of the Pope in my house. My politics are way to the left. I’d imagine I’d walk in and not know what to do, and even as I sat in the pew everyone would see me for what I was: someone who didn’t know how to pray.
Times have changed. Even though my shoes were loud I walked into the silent chapel today. I took off my coat and put my bag on the chair. I went to the bathroom. I went back to my seat. I prayed. I coughed when needed. I tried to find God in the reality of my life, rather than being frightened into someone else’s prayer.
Maybe the height of my heel was immodest, maybe my step was too sonorous, but I don’t believe that God needs us to tiptoe around. I know how to respect the prayer of others and I know how to be reverent. I’m not going to play at it, feigning a meek, genuflect-in-front-of-the-vacuum piety that I will never, ever have. When I bowed my head and sang tantum ergo sacramentum, veneremur cernui I knew that it was my own head I was bowing, one on which every hair has been counted, which was created good, which knows how to pray.