Why don’t you just buy a bottle of grape juice? I ask.
It’s not as pure, Mom whispers, as if God will hear and strike us down.
Mom wields a baking spoon and starts mixing Welch’s 100% Grape Juice Frozen Concentrate with water that she’s boiled to ensure maximum purity. The veins in her hands bulge, as she mixes with escalating fervor, spoon clanging against the pitcher walls.
Across the kitchen, Grandma places an unleavened round of dough in the rice cooker. An empty serving dish waits beside it.
The body of Christ, broken for us.
The blood of Christ, shed for us.
It’s Sunday morning, and Asian immigrants start pulling into the driveway. As they arrive, they make their way through the garage / laundry room / den / kitchen to the dining room, which moonlights as a church sanctuary – my parents run Christian church services out of our house.
Folding chairs surround the dining room table, each matched with a hymn book and plastic spoon purchased en masse from Sam’s Club – they’re for dipping into a wine glass of Mom’s sort-of homemade grape juice, as backwash is not among things we believe in. Until the service begins, a white cloth covers the consecrated elements, like a top secret (not-so secret) veil.
In clearing the dining room for church, I notice that I’ve missed an eraser from last night’s math homework. I snatch and shove it into my pocket, because church feels less reverent when you’re reminded of what real life still looks like.
In Social Studies, I’ve learned that Catholics believe in transubstantiation, or the transformation of bread and wine into Jesus’s literal flesh and blood during The Eucharist. This freaks me out, so I consult my mom. Not true, she says. The Catholics are wrong. She can provide supplemental reading, if I’d like.
I also wonder about Doubting Thomas, the disciple who refuses to believe that it’s actually Jesus, when the resurrected Jesus arrives at his door – that is, until Jesus reveals nail wounds in his hands and side, or tangible evidence of being pinned to a cross.
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
It occurs to me that living by faith, not by sight looks a whole lot like make-believe.
My therapist asks, What is your greatest fear?
To miss my full potential
To be, based on evidence I’ve produced (or lack thereof), a nobody
To be, based on evidence I’ve produced, a somebody, only to feel like a nobody
To be misunderstood.
It’s Sunday night – the hymn books and plastic spoons are gone. The house is quiet, save for distant screams of WWE stars in spandex singlets being bounced off wrestling mats, and an audience that roars with approval. My dad’s a big fan.
Tonight, we’ll drink leftover grape juice with dinner.