Popcorn and Communion with the Saints

I started serving popcorn for dinner on Sunday nights somewhere in the month of June. It is a way for me to honor the sabbath. Maybe that sounds like a Jesus-pass to do something not totally healthy and a little lazy, but it is quickly becoming a sacred time in our family. We do nothing on Sundays. We rest. We eat popcorn off of paper towels so there are no dishes to do. We go to bed early. I am thinking about declining all social invitations (If you know what an extrovert I am, you know this is an extreme move).

I posted about the popcorn on my Facebook page and my cousin quickly responded that this was a learned behavior, an inherited right. My Grammy had popcorn for dinner every single Wednesday night. If she did it, of course I could! So we have been sabbathing on Sundays, with popcorn for dinner. And it has become more than just popcorn.

It has become a communion with the saints. A time where I remember the people, especially the women, who have gone before me. Where I think about my Grammy, and popcorn for dinner, and how everything in her living room was a shade of mauve, even the child’s rocking chair that was passed down to me. My girls sit in that chair in my living room. I spray painted it orange because I love bold colors (and spray paint) and I wonder if Juliet will paint it some other color and remember how her mother liked bold colors so much the living room looked like a crayola crayon box.

I remember asking my catholic friend what “the whole saint thing was all about anyway.” I was as tactful at sixteen as I am now apparently. I don’t remember what she said, but what I heard was that it was sort of like asking someone who was a little closer, to put in a good word for you with God. I liked it. I started praying to the saints sometimes, or more accurately asking them to come pray with me. I use the term saint loosely. I use the term communion loosely.

I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the officially recognized saints, I pray with those guys too. I particularly like the idea of having the honor of praying with Mary the Mother of Jesus, or Mary Magdalene. But those ladies aren’t really my go to. My great-grandmother, Doris Burgess whose faith was as legendary as her cookie jar is someone I think of often. My Grammy Michael, a labor and delivery nurse, I always would pray with while I rocked my babies. She adored babies. My cousin Rachel, who was on her way to her very first social work job in Chicago when she died in a car accident, I like to pray with her about my really hard cases at school. And I would pray with my great-great Aunt Ruth about politics (which she still regularly talked until she died at over 100) but she wouldn’t approve of the way I vote.

I know that this sounds all woo-woo and weird. But the older I get the less convinced I am that heaven and earth is separated by any kind of hard-line. Death really does seem to be the next great adventure. So some pray to Mary the mother of Jesus as they seek the will of her son. And I, I pray with my Grammy on Sundays in the living room. We eat popcorn, and she is sympathetic to the life of a working mom.

9 thoughts on “Popcorn and Communion with the Saints

  1. No dear, I don’t think it sounds weird at all. Those women you pray with are all there. Good for you for recognizing that. And what wonderful women they seem to be.


  2. Not sure there are enough words for how much I love this…. your words, the idea, your descriptions of your family. Lovely, every bit of it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. My great-grandma prayed for me every day, so of course she still does even though she isn’t here. Sometimes I ask her to put in a good word for me.

  4. Abby, Great writing. I love your phrasing especially, ” My great-grandmother, Doris Burgess whose faith was as legendary as her cookie jar . ..”. You just keep going and growing”.

  5. I love this to pieces, Abby. And you, too. I do this a lot, actually. I consider every ‘conversation’ I have with someone I loved who has left this life for the next to be a prayer, of sorts. You have expressed it perfectly. (And I’ll have to try that popcorn for dinner thing. Don’t think my husband will love the idea, but I sure do!)

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