Back to my childhood church Sacred Heart
Having to use a wheelchair means you also spend time using elevators. I've had my fair share of experiences using elevators in numerous places. I'm probably certain all of the experiences could be a book one day.
I'll share my most recent adventure. I'm a practicing Catholic, and January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation honoring Mary. All that really boils down to is that you must attend Mass to spend time learning about Jesus's mother. Many churches that I normally attend had Mass at 7pm or on New Year's Day morning. I was looking forward to a relax day on Friday and not go anywhere. I searched the area for an earlier Church that had an early evening Mass time, and I found it.
It was at a church that I often attended as a child- Sacred Heart in Royersford. I remembered though it wasn't accessible back then but maybe times have changed. As a child, my dad carried me up the concrete stairs and held me in his lap.
Jeff called for me and they said that they added an elevator. So, I talked my Dad into going to the 4pm Mass. He was reluctant but I think was ok having most of the evening free afterwards. We arrived and went in. I was excited to see the church since I haven't been there since I was probably my daughter's age or so. We found the elevator. At first, it looked like you needed a key. But you didn't- you just needed to open the door.
My Dad opened the door and he and my nephew gasped. The elevator was the size of a regular public bathroom stall. Since I'm not good at hitting buttons, Laura was skinny enough to fit in with me. My Dad closed this wooden gate that resembled a baby gate and shut the metal door.
Laura was scared and I admit that I wasn't thrilled. I'm claustrophobic but I couldn't show it or panic with Laura there. She hit the button for up. Then she gave me a death grip around my neck as I said it won't be long. As you went up, you could see the walls of the church. It really reminded me of a vault that they lower a casket into. But I didn't say that either. Sure enough, it was quickly over and we were up.
I felt greatly relieved until anticipating that in about an hour, I'd have to decend back down. Laura and Zef were quietly arguing who would go with me. I found odd considering how nervous Laura seemed.
The church was beautiful and old. It wasn't designed for a newer motorized wheelchair. The only place for my chair to be was up front. Not my first choice, but hey I did this to myself by picking this time. It was extremely quiet and the type of church that you knew any noise you made would echo. Having athetoid spastic cerebral palsy, moving isn't an option - it's a constant.
So, picture me in a bigger wheelchair, up front of this quiet marbled floor church. The homily (or sermon) the priest gave was about silence. They sang Silent Night. There was no escape from silence. Then, it hit me what am I going to do when they hand out Communion? I had to go somewhere because the aisle was too narrow for people to walk around me. I just prayed that I could go up the next aisle without getting stuck.
Luckily, Communion went without a problem. I didn't go to my seat afterwards because Mass was almost over. Next was the elevator ride down. My nephew came with me and we could barely fit. He's a bit bigger than Laura. He was also scared but going down seemed like a few seconds - still quite creepy though. I zoomed out of there with the hope of not returning.