5 ways to actually say ‘peace be with you’

If I had to choose just one part of the Mass that really irritates me (it’d be really hard), but I’d pick the sign of peace.
So many times, I reach out to shake hands with someone, and the person doesn’t make eye contact with me because he or she is looking at the next person to shake hands with.
Really? I always think to myself. You’re supposed to be sharing peace with this person.
It’s supposed to be symbolic of asking for forgiveness and giving forgiveness to those in your (personal) life.
It bothers me a lot.
Here are some ideas to make the whole process go more smoothly.
1. Relax. You’re not going to get a deadly disease from shaking hands.
     Last time I checked, those horrible diseases aren’t spread by hand-to-hand contact. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure a few seconds of sweaty palm action won’t kill you.
     Stop trying to avoid the person who coughed a little bit ago. He probably just has a dry throat because he woke up late and didn’t drink anything before leaving for Mass (he can not wait for Communion, let me tell you).
     Seriously, can you stop with the hand sanitizer after shaking hands? Please, stop.
     Jesus was among the lepers. You can shake hands with the girl who has a runny nose (it’s allergies, I swear).
flower photo

A not-related photo of flowers.

2. Stop trying to make a strategy.
     This is not the game of Risk. Just turn one way. No hands open? Turn the other way.
     The just shake hands in succession one way or the other.
3. That would be the point where you make EYE CONTACT.
     Actually give peace.
     Goodness. Smile, say it audibly and shake the hand like you just made a closing deal on a house.
     You’ll feel good. He’ll feel good. Life will go on.
     “Peace be with you.”
4. Shake hands with the kids.
     They’re probably shy and don’t want you to look at them.
     Just offer your hand anyway. If they don’t respond, it’s OK.
     Offer them peace anyway. I mean, they’re kids. C’mon.
     If you do it sincerely, the parents will smile, too.
5. Mention it after the dismissal.
I mean, was that hard? See, you just gave peace again.     “I noticed your scarf when we shook hands. I love it.”
     Then, she might be happier, not snap at her kid in the parking lot and the world goes on.
     If you’re too shy, try to say something nice to the greeter handing out bulletins.
     Not just, thanks, have a good day. How about: “nice tie” or something similar.
It’s not difficult to just be nice.
Once you’re pretending to be nice, it’s not too far until you’re actually nice.
It’s kind of a vicious circle.
God bless.


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