Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

I have received 4 emails from my mother reminding me to go to mass on Ash Wednesday. I promised her that I would go. Now that Ash Wednesday is here, I'm not so sure if I should.

For one, I would have to go to church on the other side of the Peaceline which is a pain in the ass. Walking there wouldn't be a problem since people would think I was a tourist anyway. I just hate weaving around to get through those gates and walking there alone is intimidating and scary.

Second, I'm not so sure if it's a great idea to be walking back home through a hardcore Protestant area with a big black smear on my forehead. I might as well wear a neon sign that says, "I'M CATHOLIC!" It is just as bad as wearing a Celtic shirt.

Third, even though Craig's family doesn't care. I think the neighbors will be suspicious seeing that they are harboring a Fenian in their house. As far as I know, they think I'm just an American. But a Catholic? I don't know how that would go well with the neighbors and I don't want to get Craig's family into trouble.

I can go to mass and wipe the ashes off before I leave the church. But what would be the point in going to mass in the first place? That would defeat the purpose. The whole point is to wear your ashes until sundown to show the world you are repenting.

Never in my life would I have thought "getting ashed" would be such a dilemma. If only my mother knew...


Unknown said...

You bring to truth to fact that we still live in a deeply divided society here. For those fortunate to live in mixed neighbourhoods, it's easy to forget those who have to "keep their head down" lest they risk danger.

There is positive work in interface area. Indeed, much of it more progressive than the insidious bigotry in the leafy suburbs.

But personal security comes first.

For today, how about meeting up with a friend in city centre afterwards, for a cuppa and chat? You could remove the ash marking before returning home.

Only a suggestion. I'm grateful for you sharing your dilemma.

Flippin' Yank said...

Thanks for your suggestion. I did get my ashes yesterday and hung out in the city centre for a few hours before returning home.

In the short time I've been here I've moved about 3 times and had the opportunity to experience living in different areas in Belfast (ie Stranmillis and the Malone) and now here.

It's amazing how the environment changes drastically when you're just a few miles away. When you're not surrounded by it, it's easy to forget and take certain freedoms for granted.

Where I'm living now is a constant reminder of that segregation. From the murals to unspoken rules of etiquette, and ppl living lives on the downlow with caution.

As an outsider, it is an eye opener for sure. It is certainly, something you can't experience on a week's visit as a tourist.