A little background might be handy about now. I was raised going to church with my family, sitting in the pews, nodding off during the sermons, pretending I was paying attention when I was really thinking about how silly all those HATS the women were wearing looked... of course, MY hat was JUST as silly and I opted to "forget" it as often as possible. Sometime after we returned from our years in England, once again in the small church in Bowie, MD we'd always attended, I ended up in the choir. How that happened, exactly, I haven't a clue... I imagine Dad had something to do with it, because my earliest choir recollections, also include Dad and my brother Tim singing tenor.
I have to be honest. My love of music and of singing was a MUCH bigger drive to "keep me coming" to church than the sermons, or the Sunday school classes (which I did like). Somehow, music was my connection. I sang in that church choir until I graduated high school and left for college... where I did not sing in ANY church for quite a few years.
When my first child was born, my then-husband wanted him to be christened, as he had been, in the church where he'd grown up... and so it was, that I returned to attending church, but only sporadically. My husband and I had not been raised in the same religion, and so I could either continue to practice in a different church/same religion, or join him, when he decided to attend (Christmas and Easter come to mind) at a different church/different religion. For the twice a year decision, it seemed easy enough to go together as a family to the church of his choice.
We moved from Florida, where we'd begun our married life, to Virginia when my eldest - my son was seven years old. By this time my daughter had joined the family and she was five. Our new community offered a VARIETY of churches and religions. (I don't know if anyone ELSE has noticed, but driving through VA, I see at LEAST as many churches as I see fast food restaurants, and THAT'S a LOT!) Since it was "important" to my husband that the children be brought up in "the religion," I suggested it MIGHT be a good thing if there was some sort of regular attendance.
|Jenn 5, Stephen 7|
By the time we'd been in town three months, we were regularly attending the church in which I now scrunch in the corner every Sunday. Doing the math on that one, I realize I have been attending church there for 22 years now.... my children are grown, their father and I divorced years ago, and though it WAS his church, I discovered these folks with whom I have been singing and playing the guitar every week are family. He left, I stayed.
Today however, was the first Sunday service I participated in since September 12, 2010. I was traveling for work for more than five weeks. So when I walked into the church, 1 hour and 10 minutes before the service was to start, and only 5 minutes late for the beginning of choir rehearsal, I was greeted with a great big WHOOP!! from the other choir members. "YEAHHHH!!! Judy's Back!!" they cheered as I made my way to my designated scrunch position.
I tuned my guitar quickly and within a few minutes we all had our eyes on Kitty, our choir director as she guided us through the pieces in which we would lead the congregation during the service. It was all old favorites... stuff I've sung and played a thousand times. And it felt so GOOD to be back home.
As I listened to the priest's sermon, I was drifting back and forth between what he was saying and what that meant to me.... and I thought, this is not the same as when I was a little girl. In fact I see nobody in silly hats. And I am not inclined to snooze or to pretend to listen. I actually "get something" out of the whole deal.
When we sang the meditation piece, "I'll Fly Away" from O Brother, Where Art Thou, it occurred to me that this really IS still my connection... the music, the singing, the choir family. And I left the service with more energy than I have had in days!
Back at the old farmhouse, we worked on spreading more dirt and gravel on the roads we've made. Tomorrow we will have 20 tons of road dirt delivered and later in the week another 20 tons of gravel.... we still have a lot of roads ahead of us. Still today the weather was chilly, but beautiful, and we needed to get the last of what we had spread before the next loads arrive. Despite the cold, once I was working with the rake, raking gravel and dirt, I warmed right up!
The end of Daylight Savings Time meant that we had to head in early, losing the light faster, but I believe we did our fair share of work today. And yes, it WAS a wonderful Sunday!
|Wasn't it Just SUMMER???|