A Day At Church

26 Nov

I gave five hours to church on Sunday.

I am not in a leadership position. I am no one exciting. Just a member of the congregation and this is what I gave.

Five hours.

It’s a job. A day’s work.

As a child I used to say I was churched out.

When my family would sit down to read scriptures or when there was yet another youth activity I would sigh. I can’t, I’m churched out.

I am often churched out.

I wonder how many of us feel this way?

I’ve wondered if this means I don’t like it?

Or like, with everything else in life, there’s bad to get to the good?

The first hour I spent at church practicing the organ.

This is actually an improvement for me. When I was first asked to be the ward organist I would come at 7:30AM and use my key to unlock the green gate. I would turn on the lights and for the next 2.5 hours I would stumble through, my feet bumbling the pedals, my heart racing.

It almost doesn’t matter if I practice, I can never perform it how I’d like.

It’s the ultimate test for a perfectionist and I get it every week!

Lucky me.

A podcast I listen to once talked about church as something that most every single time is boring and semi-horrible and then occasionally, BOOM, that great spiritual experience. And we go and we slog through for the BOOMS.

This is true of most anything.

I love to read, and yet most of the books I read are just fine. But then, wow, when you get a great one.

BOOM.

BOOMS.

The second hour of church I spent actually playing the organ for the service.

I played four pieces.

Prelude.

Postlude.

It went about as well as usual, which is to say at least 20% less than I would have hoped.

Recently I listed all the things I have going on in my life.

There’s a lot.

I load myself up with projects and side projects. With relationships and goals and to-do lists and I am on edge a lot of the time because I am nowhere near accomplishing everything I want to.

Rob points out that I have a lot on my plate and I say, “Yes!” But I want it all there!”

Except for church.

The church stuff on that list often feels like an obligation.

One I take on willingly.

But an obligation, nonetheless.

The third hour of church I teach a group of 4-5 year olds about forgiveness.

We read stories and color pictures and sing songs.

(I do this at work all week.

Now I do this on the weekends too.)

I sound negative and I know I can be about church.

I am, after all, someone who is churched out quite often.

But there are so many good things I’m not talking about here.

About some of the best friends and best people I’ve met through church. About the way the community came together and fed my family for a week when my grandpa died. How people I’ve never met have showed up and helped me move my house countless times, simply because I asked. And because we share this thing.

I don’t mean to be negative.

The fourth hour of church I play the piano for all of the primary children (12 and under). I haven’t practiced and don’t know the songs beforehand, but luckily this isn’t the organ.

I debated publishing this piece.

Will it be controversial? Sharing my experience?

Sharing anything when it comes to religion seems to be controversial. Some people only want to listen to the good. To tell me to try harder, have more faith. Others only want to swirl in the bad. To tell me to leave, that it’s all nonsense.

My church experience exists in tones of gray.

In kind people and long meetings.

In purpose and community, in disappointment and heartache.

In slog slog (slog) (slog) (slog) (slog) BOOMS.

The fifth hour of church I stay behind and help a friend pick out a solo for the upcoming Relief Society Christmas dinner.

I’ll be accompanying her on the piano.

She has a lovely voice.

Slog slog slog

(No booms today.)

 

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2 Responses to “A Day At Church”

  1. Linnea November 28, 2018 at 7:36 pm #

    I get this SO MUCH. I have wondered in recent years why it seems that I get so burned out quickly by church and some people just seem like they can go and go and go.

    When Annika was 15 months they called me into nursery. I really started wondering why I was going to church. I’d spend sacrament meeting chasing her around, trying to keep her entertained and quiet. I’d spend the following 2 hours with her and the nursery children, which looked exactly like every other day of my week. There were zero booms for the year and a half that I did that.

    I asked to be released from my next primary calling (4-year-olds) after six months(ish?) because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Some people really thrive in primary, and talk about how they learn more from the children then anywhere else. I am not one of those people, and I think that’s okay. I wither away and slowly die.

    Now I’m in YW. It’s better -there is more conversation, I get more booms. It is also a lot – weekly activities, meetings, worrying about a bunch of teenage girls.

    I’m horrible at visiting teaching. Ministering. Whatever it is. I’m bad at making time to be visited, I’m bad at remembering to go visit.

    I’m looking forward to 2 hour church. I don’t know if it will make that much of a difference, though.

  2. sarah November 29, 2018 at 5:19 pm #

    i really, really love that you posted this. i commented just to say that – that i’m glad you hit publish. i think when things blow up and become “controversial,” it’s because everyone wants to talk and nobody is just listening. and i, for one, so appreciate hearing about your experience. thanks for sharing it.

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