I'm pretty sure most of you know I don't whine and pout about the big stuff. We've hiked a tough road in our family and done it with our chins up for the most part. Babygirl spends days in doctors' offices, gets blood work, wears monitors and never complains about any of it. We've put off vacations, camping trips and family get-togethers and generally made do with whatever, whenever.
So when I get pouty and whiney on the blog you already know that it is about something that is meaningless in the long run. But I'm going to complain anyway because it is bugging me. Feel free to leave now if whining annoys you.
There. I said it. I'm pouting and whining about Christmas Eve.
Our church has gone from having a choir every Sunday and special music available for all extra services two years ago to having no music program at all now, and we miss it. We have an elderly organist who is not comfortable coming out for evening services, although she did make herself available for the 7 PM service. Because there was no accompanist, the 11 o'clock service was cancelled. This service is one of the special ones that a couple dozen people really, really love - it's quiet, worshipful, meaningful and really is the heart of the spirit of Christmas.
So we decided to do the service anyway. My brother agreed to play guitar. I agreed to sing. I made myself available to do special music for both the 7 PM and the 11 PM services.
At the 7 PM service I discovered, to my dismay, that 'special music' was listed as the offertory.
From the non-musical among you, I hear, "So?" From the musical, I hear the cringing. The 7 PM service is the family service. Noisy kids. Restless, excited kids. Kids and babies and pre-Santa-hyped KIDS. Musicians going solo at these services already know that there is going to be a LOT of distraction going on during the performance. Add ushers with clanking change and collection plates and it's a mighty amount of noise - and I had selected an a capella piece.. Not an easy gig, as they say. But hey, I know that the person who planned the service is not a musician. I deal, a capella versus noise, no problem and get over myself.
For the 11 PM service I tell the lay speaker in charge that I have an additional song to sing for the prelude, since there is no organist. Okay, cool, he says.
Eleven o'clock comes. People sit, chatting and laughing. I wait. After a couple of minutes, with the lay speaker standing at the pulpit, I assume he is waiting for me, so I turn on the music and begin to sing. It's a lovely song, really, in Mary's voice: "The hardest part of being blest is when the angel disappears....."
About a third of the way through, the inexplicable happens. The lay speaker starts talking - chatting really, with the congregation, as I sing. And halfway, he suddenly asks the entire group to stand up and switch from one side of the aisle to the other so he can see them better. They comply, noisily. I'm still singing behind him. There is no way that he or anyone else in the sanctuary could be unaware of this. I contemplate shutting off the CD, letting things settle, and starting over, but....really?? I mean, what does one do? This fell rather far outside the realm of my experience.
I finished: "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord: Be it unto me according to your word....."
I began pouting almost immediately. I believe I mumbled to Citygirl, "Now I now what it's like to sing in a bar!" The rest of the service was somewhat better, but when it came to the candlelit portion, they apparently forgot that musicians need SOME light to keep playing. We'd have been good if anyone had come up and lit our candles.
I made a conscious choice many, many years ago to not use music for my own benefit but rather to leave it in the hands of God. Perhaps I've gotten too puffed up about it and needed humbling. And probably someday in the future God is going to give me the NCIS head biff for whining about this, but for now I'm going to admit that my feelings are sincerely hurt.