I’ve been meaning to sit down and write a post for about a week, but life has been…well life, and it just hasn’t happened. I had this great idea for a post about some “favorite things” – I’ve even been taking pictures – so, you know I’m not messing around here! But that post will have to wait for another time because something happened this past weekend that I need to talk about, and I’m only now in the head space to be able to do so without bursting into tears of panic and hysteria. Are you totally hooked and waiting with much anticipation yet? Good…that was all part of my plan!
So, this past weekend I was serving on our church’s worship team. I get to do so about once a month and I really enjoy the experience. I think I’ve probably written about this before, but I experience God in two ways – through worship and through study – so serving in our worship department is as much a spiritual growth experience for me as a corporate celebration of God – it is just a really good thing.
Serving on the worship team does entail several hours of commitment (rehearsal, a service on Saturday night and two services on Sunday morning), and so when I am part of it, my people (Terry and Arden), are kind of on their own to find dinner on Saturday and get to one of the two services on Sunday. It’s a family commitment and they are troopers about it (as a side note, what makes me think that the family simply cannot function unless I’m there every second of the day? I do not know – ego I tell you. My husband is a rock star with the princess, so I really shouldn’t worry – but I’m a mom and it is in like the first line of the job description). But I digress.
T is so supportive of my minuscule talents, and is always in at least one of the services to smile and wave from the congregation – yes at the age of 41 I still need the encouragement of a biased observer. So, it has become a habit for me to scan the crowd at the beginning of service to locate his face and then get down to the business at hand. As can be expected, sometimes a 7 year old girl can throw a wrench into getting to church on time, and so he is occasionally late and runs into the service a few minutes after it has begun, but never in the 5 years we’ve been attending this church has he missed a service in which I’ve been serving. Which brings us to this week’s experience.
As the 2nd service began, I did my congregation scan and could not locate my husband. Like I said, this is not unusual and I simply assumed that A was slowing down the arrival – so I didn’t think much of it, until we were nearly finished with the worship set and my crowd perusal had not spotted them at all. 3 songs in and no sign of my people. During the summer, A likes to sit in the service with us and so I scanned and scanned for a sighting of either or both of them and came up empty. My heartbeat started to pick up a little, but my internal dialogue was something like this…it is a full service today, it is dark in the crowd, they are there but you just can’t see them, you will find them once you get down from the platform – and so I completed the set and walked off stage.
I went to the back of the church and scanned each section – nothing – I COULD NOT see my people! Now the panic started to rise in full force. As you know, we moved to the woods and the commute to church is a lot longer than it used to be; so I started to think maybe they had car trouble (because THAT is not a far-fetched idea in our car problem cursed world) so I started texting. No response. I called, no answer. I looked and looked and looked through the crowd, no people.
I even went as far as to text our worship leader and tell him that I might have to leave to find them and wouldn’t be able to finish out the service at the end. He went with me to check the children’s church wing (where I totally freaked out the workers because I had tears in my eyes when I asked desperately “is my kid in there??”). I was a hot mess.
Now, some of you may think – good grief this is a lot of drama because your people aren’t at church…you need to CHILL. And you would be right, I do need to chill. But I have a deep in the pit of my soul fear of not being able to locate my people. It began on Sept. 11, 2001 when I was in D.C. during the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history and I couldn’t reach my family to let them know I was OK; and it was exacerbated further when my father died in December of 2007. When we first began to fear the small plane in which he was traveling had crashed, I burned up his cell phone for hours trying to get him to answer the phone. He, of course, could not answer the phone, and since that day the non-answer of a phone call to my loved ones starts a chain reaction in me that I am powerless to stop. I have a whole slew of scriptures I recite to myself in these times, because let’s face it people can’t always get to their phones and it certainly does not mean they are dead; but the fear is real and tangible and there isn’t a lot that stops it until I get my people in my line of sight.
I was about to run out the door of the church to go save my family when a bit of sanity returned and I asked my worship leader to go with me to the sound booth to take one last look. The booth is elevated over the back of the sanctuary and so I had the presence of mind to think that with a bird’s eye view I might find them. He agreed and we went to look. Since there hasn’t been any news of a crazy woman in Illinois running screaming out of a local church in search of her family, you can probably figure out what happened next. I looked on one side, he took the other and with in 30 seconds he located them. There they were – sitting where we always sit – blissfully unaware of the 30 minutes of terror I had just lived through. My people. Cuddled up together, listening to the sermon. My people. I stood in the booth the rest of the sermon and just looked at them. After service had concluded, I found them in the foyer and just hung on for a few seconds. My people.
Throughout the day, I found myself simply laying my hands on one or both of them to assure myself that they were really still there. My people.
I think it is important to learn from life’s experiences, and so these are the three things I learned since Sunday’s freak out:
- Never underestimate the value of a good pair of glasses – I knew when I turned 40 that my eyes would change, and they have, but I have been assuming it was in the “I need reading glasses” line of eye wear. Apparently I need them to see far away as well.
- Be thankful for a church full of people who love your family and worry even when there doesn’t turn out to be a need. We are so blessed to have so many people in our lives like this thanks to our church.
- The devil really will do anything he can to distract you from serving, hearing, doing – so be on the look out for those attacks and don’t give him the satisfaction. (Did I mention this sermon series is about putting on the whole armor of God so you can STAND against the attacks of the enemy – yeah, the struggle is real!)
So, the crisis has passed and all of my people are accounted for and I couldn’t be more thankful for that fact! Now to make that appointment for some new glasses….
See ya soon!