Center Drop by Jacob Nez
Sometimes I get dropped to the center.
Take the blessing I received on my birthday. Don’t get me wrong. I like the gifts, the cake, the party and the good things people say about me. But the blessing from the priest is one of those deep ceremonies in the Episcopal Church that never fails to touch me in the pit of my stomach. I like to receive the blessing the Sunday before my birthday, not after. I want to anticipate that my living is a blessing.
Often I feel like I am a shadow, not seen by anyone, walking just on the outside. Nothing I do seems important. When I feel the priest making the sign of the cross on my forehead I return to this world as someone who belongs.
Perhaps all minorities in a white majority world feel the same. The looks I get of judgment, the fear that I am going to harm them, the question of what race I am—I get these all day long even though I am surrounded by brown skin.
I remember my baptism. I was accepted into a family that messes up but still declares that I am God’s child. “You are Christ’s own. You are marked forever,” goes the words in this ceremony of water, oil and candle. It told me “You are going to stumble but your place in God’s home is where you come back.”
I remember my first communion that day. It was so important that I waited until I was baptized. I tried to remember to put up my hands just right so I could receive the bread/body. It was like being defended against the bad things that I was in the habit of doing. I no longer had to lie about who I am or what I believe. I belong.
Now, every time I receive the Eucharist, I remember that I am marked forever. I can accept my being blessed. I’m not the bad one going to hell. I am Christ’s own.
This is important for those of us who come from the outside.