I always go to church on Christmas Eve. Michael goes to his extended family’s party and I walk to church (we generally only have one car). This year we moved to a new town, and its very close to our old town, but its REALLY far when you are walking. Our town only has one church, and its Catholic.
I am not Catholic. I have never been in a Catholic church before, other than to listen to music one time. Like I said, Michael goes to his family thing, so I always go to Christmas Eve service by myself, and usually its not a problem. This time was different.
It was really cold outside, so I bundled up and walked to church. As soon as I walked in I was uncomfortable. There was an angel statue in the entry that was holding some (what I am assuming was) holy water. There was a sponge in it, and people stopped by it, but I had no idea what it was for, or what they were doing, so I just walked by it. Then I noticed the people in front of me were kneeling before they got into the pews. I didn’t know why they were doing this, so I just looked around the very crowded church confused, until an older lady motioned that I could sit next to her. I did, and I didn’t kneel because I don’t like to do things if I don’t know why I am doing them.
The entire service was a little odd to me, because the participation rate was really low (no one seemed to sing), and I couldn’t tell when people were praying. I think we were praying, but then I would look around to double check and no one had closed eyes or bowed heads, so I wasn’t sure. Then there were some chant-like things, which were foreign to me. I don’t really do well in situations where I feel lost, so I was barely holding it together through the service.
Then disaster struck. Or rather it was time for Communion. I have taken Communion in numerous churches, and never had an issue with it. However, I know that you have to be baptized Catholic and take classes and stuff in order to take Communion in a Catholic church. I also know that the congregation files in front of the priest and is given the wine and wafer. What I didn’t know was how to NOT take Communion. I didn’t know if I was supposed to file through and say “No thank you” or just stay seated.
So I did the rational thing and had a panic attack. The priest was talking, and I was on the very edge of tears. I got up and started to walk out. Rude? Undoubtedly. Pretty much the only option at that point, unless I wanted to make a scene bawling in church? Most definitely.
It can’t get much worse right? WRONG! I dropped my gloves when I got out of my seat. Now I know all of about two people in the town I live in. And who do you think should notice that I dropped them, when I am almost out of the church? My neighbor from across the street. He quietly points it out to me that I dropped them, so I turn around, and numerous other people have noticed as well. I turn around and go get them, fighting back tears as best I can. Then I literally RUN out of the church, and as soon as I get out the door I burst into tears. By the time I am out of the parking lot I have tears and snot all over my face. And I want to die of embarrassment.
Panic attacks are not uncommon for me, anytime I feel overwhelmed by a social situation I tend to break down. The first time my mom sent me to get her oil changed I never even made it in the shop, I just sat in her van crying because I didn’t know where to park. When the grocery store is overcrowded, I tend to grab what I need and then go cry in the car. I am used to it. It doesn’t even embarrass me. This time it really did. Usually my meltdowns are not rude or disrespectful, I just look like a crazy person. But I am pretty sure that what I did was the epitome of rude, which makes me feel terrible. Plus now my neighbor thinks (knows?) I am a crazy person…
What is your most embarrassing moment?
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