what if.

Changing is hard, especially if you've found something that works for you and has worked for you for a number of years.

In college, I tried every Catholic church in Waco. I even tried few Protestant churches. Nothing worked. Maybe I just wasn't in the place where I truly wanted one to work out. Maybe there just wasn't one that fit my needs at that time. Whatever the reason, I remained church-less for a number of years.

When I first moved to Baltimore I began attending mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the BLessed Virgin Mary, or the Basilica for short. It was the first church I attended and until today, the only church in Baltimore that I'd been to. In that regard I was lucky; I fell in love the moment I walked in the door.

Then two weeks ago I saw photos of another church just a few short blocks from the Basilica named Saint Alphonsus. The church was stunning. I mean, absolutely beautifully stunning. So I thought, I've never really branched out. What if there's something better out there? What if I'm meant to be at Saint Alphonsus and not at the Basilica? I resolved to try something new and attend mass at Saint Alphonsus instead.

It didn't happen. At the last possible second I chickened out (which is why I only had 15 minutes to get ready last week). I stuck with the familiar and the comfortable.

This week I decided to try again. At the last possible second I chickened out. Again. Except this time it was a few seconds too late. I now had to choose between not showering & making it to the Basilica on time, showering and walking into mass at the Basilica late, or showering and making it to mass at Saint Alphonsus on time. I can't bear the thought of not showering, especially before church and I can't bear the thought of arriving at mass late unless I have no other option. I had another option: Saint Alphonsus.

When I walked into Saint Alphonsus I was struck by how beautiful it was. The paint was peeling in spots but that somehow only enhanced the church's beauty. The mass was a Latin mass. Latin masses were common before Vatican II. The priest faces the alter instead of the congregation and says the entire mass in Latin (except the homily, which he did in English along with 2 readings). While the mass and the church were beautiful, Saint Alphonsus somehow didn't fit.

At the end of the day I tried something new but it didn't work out.

I'm okay with that.

Next Sunday I won't have to wonder whether I should have gone to mass at Saint Alphonsus or not. I won't have to question whether there's a better option for me or not.

That's the beauty of trying new things: regardless of whether they work out or not, you at least know that you gave it a shot.
"I'd rather have a life of oh well's than a life of what if's."

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