What happened didn’t cause an outcry from the pews, nor a dismissal from a position I’ve found solace in lately. It was a error in judgement; rather, an excitable few minutes I like to have back. Tension, apprehension, and overall buzziness in my brain overtook situational awareness when I arose from the resting chair beside the organ located in the upper right corner of the sanctuary. Yes, a comfortable, cushioned chair wasn’t good enough for sitting during a time in a service when all others were reverently focused on prayer and supplication.
Pacing around the organ seemed to be a better emotional lotion to sooth my nerves. All the music to come was prepared and organized, of course. Notes well positioned and in place had no requirement for my attention at that moment. Minimal to no dust, air, and small flames from the altar candles barely moved. Congregational members in attendance listened with focused, faithful calm as prayers were read by our pastor.
I, however, flittered about with no intention except to get through the moments. Honestly, had this not been brought to my attention after the service, the day’s hours would have gone on without my consideration. Pastor D. was kind enough to mention his peripheral uncomfortableness with my maniacal motion. I’m glad he did. “May I ask a favor…?, he asked after the service. “Could you not move around during the prayers … and possibly not so much at all?”.
These past few months have been crazy. No need for details. Certainly you’ve had stretches of time where life just sucks. I’ve had a lot of loss lately. The heart-hurt from these losses will take time to heal and I’m ok with the process. Along the way though, situational awareness gets lost at times. All of us think we’re doing ok until someone we respect pulls us aside and says, “Hey, about what you just did there … we need to talk.”
My nerves expressed themselves by telling me to get up and saunter about the organ. Granted, I was in the midst of doing what I love to do – playing the piano and organ – which calms my nerves, but something inside this, now, broken system of synapses said, “Uh, time to move.”, as I sat down on that resting chair. An anxiety reaction, not a healthy response to stress? … for sure!
As I talked this over briefly again today with our pastor, we came up with some practical solutions. Again, it is a process of grief for me, compassion from a church body, and musical selections that must be heard every week.
Taking extra time, as I process grief, is the hardest block to place on my situational awareness wall right now. The wall breaks down so easily. If you’ve been through it, focusing on anything other than the loss seems to be almost impossible – “situations” not excluded. Even a few seconds to stop and be aware of surroundings outside of this bubble are difficult to pick up. I’ve had “Aha!” moments when the minute prior passed by and I questioned if it even happened.
Good news here? It’s probably very normal and will likely pass with time.
I am so grateful to have folks around who do say, “Hey, about what you did there …”. Especially now. Loss is horrible. Three different kinds of losses within the past month for me. All of those will be folded into many diverse situations as my life begins to explore new possibilities.
Along the way, having buddy-buffers help the steps stay calmer and will certainly be one of life’s protections.
I hope you can find help and comfort if loss and heart-hurt comes your way. It isn’t easy. Staying comfortable in a chair may not seem the best option for a few minutes, but try it. That chair doesn’t have to be in one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in Blair County. It can be a beat up old La-Z-Boy or beanbag chair from the 70’s. What’s important, too, is if you need to get up … send me a short message. I know the feeling.
I’ll simply reply, “Hey, what you did there … I get it. I really do. Let’s talk.”