Shocking.

6 Dec
I survived my first funeral at ROG.  Shocking?  Not overly.  I expected I would survive.  As nervous as I become for things like this, it went well.  [I think.]
I greeted family members, introduced myself, and was chatty.  Shocking?  A little bit.  The introvert was pushed to the side, as she needed to be.  But, boy, was I tired afterwards.
I turned on the corded microphone in the pulpit before reading the gospel.  Shocking?  Yes.  Literally.
We’re having microphone issues right now, as in my Britney Spears mic is at the shop.  I’m using a corded mic [in the pulpit] and the lectern mic primarily.  I walked up into the pulpit, had one hand on the metal reading lamp and put the other on the microphone to switch it on.  It was like I had put my fingers in an empty light socket.  [… which yes.  I’ve done before.]  I was zapped!  It was more than a carpet static shock but not enough that I swore or had any sudden movements.  After it happened, I remember thinking to myself, “Can I still stand?  Can I do this?”  A woozy second or two and I was fine.  I read the gospel.  Preached a mediocre sermon.  And survived.  My hand tingled for a couple hours afterwards.  
I spent about 20 minutes sitting in the empty sanctuary after all of it with a third grade grandson of the deceased.  Shocking?  Nope.  It was the right place for me to be.
I’m never sure where to sit during the coffee/cake time following a funeral.  I don’t need to sit with the immediate family – they have other people to greet – but often times they are the only people I know besides the women in the kitchen.  Today, I gravitated towards the kids.  There was a group of four grandchildren sitting at a far back table.  I joined them as that awkward pastor they don’t know.  Plus, none of them were drinking coffee so their coffee pot was full and in need of a drinker.
Later, as people began saying goodbyes downstairs, I walked up to the narthex and was going to go into the sanctuary to clean up my papers/books/etc. I started walking down the aisle and heard someone talk to me from behind.  It was a third grade grandson who had been in the group I sat with earlier.  He was asking me a question.  I answered and then kept walking.  He asked another question.  And another.  And soon we were both plopped in pews, on either side of the aisle, facing each other and talking.
We talked about everything.  How to outrun a cougar.  [You can’t.]  How he wants to go to Africa with a monster truck on safari.  [A silly boy.]  About Chicago, where he used to live.  About his older brother who died four years ago from what sounds like a suicide.  How he once told this guy about Jesus.  [His parents are pastors in the Salvation Army, which includes a theology of “saving” people.]  “I’ve never talked to a pastor like this before,” he said.  [I took that as a compliment.]
Soon, his sixth grade sister joined us.  “I was surprised.  You did a good job up there,” she told me, pointing to the pulpit.  We talked more about how they fight a lot as brother and sister [he bit her yesterday], about what will happen tomorrow at the cemetery, and the fact that the hotel they’ve been staying in does not have a pool [gasp].  
Soon, their parents were ready to leave.  We walked out of the sanctuary together and the sixth grader gave me a hug.  Sitting in that sanctuary with those kids after the funeral of their grandma was exactly where I needed to be.  Amen to that, Holy Spirit.  
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One Response to “Shocking.”

  1. Karen December 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm #

    This isn't shocking at all. Well – maybe you needed that shock to let you know that you are definitely where you need to be! You are doing a great job! I'm not surprised that "you did a good job up there!" Those kids won't forget the time they had with you! I am still keeping tabs on you! I hope your advent season is full of 'advent'ures!Karen

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