I am a Eucharistic minister at my school's church. I don't do it at my home parish because, well, because I'm bad at meeting my obligations on calendared events. I'm always looking at a schedule thinking, oh, I can't do that weekend. Or that one. Damn, now I need to find a sub. And then, inevitably, I don't find a sub, and then things go downhill from there and I have to apologize.
But at my school's church, I'm already there for Thursday mass with my class and so when the teacher planning the mass that week asks if I'll do it, I always say yes.
I stand up at the altar and the priest hands me the metal dish with the hosts and I walk over to the side or in front next to him.
And I give out communion.
Each moment of saying The Body of Christ and either being talked over by the impatient old guy AMEN or waiting for the timid 5th grader to whisper it, or maybe not even that, each moment I lift that host into the air and say those words, it becomes a spiritual moment.
Not because of what I'm holding or where I'm standing. It's because this moment when I lift my hand in the air and say those words, it is just me and that other person in the whole world.
It really is like that for me. It's this strange little intimate moment between me, and most times, a stranger. When it isn't a stranger, like one of my 8th graders not knowing whether to smirk at me and treat it like a joke or just say amen in seriousness and depart, it is sometimes a little hard to bear.
I take the plate back up to the altar, and the priest empties it and hands it back to me with a whispered thank you. I put it back on the credence table and walk back to my place in the congregation. All my students are kneeling. I sit down and put my head in my hands, this overwhelming feeling of connection starting to fade. I take a deep breath. One of my boys is looking at me, worried, even though this is what I do after every single time.
This is what I live for. Not to be a Eucharistic minister, but for connection. To look into another person's eyes and have a moment of connection.
To look across the classroom and catch your eye and know that you know this is ridiculous too but we are both stuck here with these silly classmates of yours.
To catch your eye across the dining room and you know it's time for us to go before I say something I'm going to regret.
To glance over at you after saying something important through tears, so glad to be here together.
To look and see that you see and know that you see that I see, and know that we are viewing each other with new eyes for just a moment, just a single moment of transfiguration when we can see clearly the humanity of the person in front of us.
That's my communion.