I have taken an informal poll of folks about my little melt-down of Sunday. I wanted to see how many people thought my wearing running clothes to mass was a big deal. Not too many people did. Most of those who did were my age or older. Not that they thought I was "bad," or "wrong," but that they understood why I felt uncomfortable about it.
A few years ago, I decided to be a "trend-setter" and wear a veil to mass. I conducted an internet search to purchase one. I found a beautiful lace mantilla and bought it. (I abandoned wearing it after a few trials.) I read the reviews of the people who had bought one. Someone had written that the reports of people pinning kleenex to their heads "back in the day" had to have been "urban legends." Well, let me tell you - that is no urban legend. We really did that. We would no more go into church without covering our heads than we would go in without clothing today. It just was.not.done. It was better to have a kleenex or a handkerchief on our heads than nothing. And everyone had a bobby pin and a kleenex or a hankie in their purse - back then.
This makes me sound like I am a hundred years old, but when I was a child, my mother would take me downtown to go shopping - we would both wear dresses, hats, and white gloves. I wore black patent leather shoes with white socks. My mother wore heels and stockings with seams up the back. My father wore a suit. This is how we dressed. This is how we went to church each week too. It wasn't because we were trying to impress anyone. It was because that was how it was done. It was how you showed respect. On special occasions, my father would have corsages in the refrigerator, ready to pin on "the girls" before mass.
So, this is my mind set. And I am beginning to realize it is very different from most of the rest of the world which is now younger than me. They did not dress in hats and white gloves to go downtown to go shopping. They dressed in pajama bottoms with "pink" emblazoned on the rear, and popped over to the mall. So how shall these same people go to mass? With hearts probably more fervent than mine, that is how!
But I cannot change the fact that I was born in 1951. I was raised when I was raised and I have the values I have. I still believe that I dress as nice as I can to show that I have respect for what I am doing. Not to impress anyone, but to show respect. I don't have mink coats or diamond jewelry - I am not dressed to impress, but I hope that I show that I know I am someplace pretty special when I am in God's house!
And now I need to bathe and dress my body to show that I know that I am in the workplace and that I am there to work! And that I respect that too!