Here’s an update. My aunt (Aunt #2) was in the hospital for two nights. She had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy done. It couldn’t have been fun, but both came up clean, which is a good sign. Also, as bizarre as it may sound, Aunt #2 and I didn’t have that bad of a time at the hospital. It was kind of a teenage sleepover, with both of us talking on and on about different things deep into the night.
After the tests, my aunt (and I) were able to return home to await her surgery, which will be on 11/13. That’s when the doctor will be able to determine the stage of the cancer, and also her endometrium, ovaries, and nearby lymph nodes will be removed. After a week or so, as long as there are no complications (knock on wood), she will be able to go home, but the doctor told us she’d likely have to go through chemotherapy treatments.
Obviously, it’s a lot to take in, but my aunt has been holding up pretty well, considering. Much of that clearly has to do with her Catholic faith. Personally, I’m not keen on religion myself. I do believe in a God, but I also believe that religion was made by people, not God, which inevitably leads to problems as people are highly fallible (i.e. full of crap a lot of times).
Still, I have faith in prayer, so tonight, I went with Aunts #2 and #3 to attend Catholic Mass service. It was my first time in a church of any denomination in a long, long while (I’d say about 3 years). I was actually brought up Christian, but I grew disillusioned pretty quick when I went to church camp and found that the kids who’d pray and cry because they were so full of God were the same ones who’d start fights, steal people’s underwear to throw them around the camp grounds, and smear toothpaste on fellow campers’ faces as they were sleeping. I really, really hated church camp.
Anyhow, tonight’s service wasn’t too bad, although it was interesting to note the differences between a Catholic service and a Christian service. Here are my top five:
1) The women wear lace doilies on their heads. Why? I have no clue. It did strike me as rather sexist that only women had to wear them, but to be fair, my aunts didn’t seem to mind.
2) Christian ministers usually wear a suit and a tie. The Catholic priest had a cool white and green robe with a funky gold design on his chest. I don’t know what happened in the Holy War, but the Catholics have it over the Christians in the war of fashion.
3) Catholics are smarter. They MUST be, because they’ve got all kinds of chants and prayers memorized. The priest says a line, the congregation answers with a line of their own without reading off of anything. Christians only recite the Lord’s Prayer from memory, if that.
4) Catholic priests seemingly have back-up dancers, i.e. the altar boys. I kept expecting them to break out in a choreographed routine a la the Backstreen Boys.
5) Catholics are really big on Jesus’s mom, Mary. As far as I can tell, this is the big ideological difference Catholicism and Christianity. So many of tonight’s prayers made references to “our mother Mary,” and there are statues of her both inside and outside the church. I actually asked my aunt if Catholics considered Mary to be a God(dess), and she said “No,” but she was pretty much the first Christian; she’s a great role model to follow; and she’s like a guide who helps people onto the road to God. So it didn’t seem like that big of a distinction, which left me totally confused on why all those Catholic meanies were trying to kill off Cate Blanchett (i.e. Elizabeth in the movie) for being Protestant.
All in all, I felt good for having attended the service, but on the way home, I found myself humming Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” and Tori Amos’ “Crucify,” neither of which are likely to be on the Pope’s Mp3 playlist. Oh, well. His loss, I say.