Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pews Blues

This arm belongs to a man named Marty.
This summer, I'm finding myself taking an unexpected journey. Not a road trip, not a flight to an unknown city, no cross-country trek to the tune of "This Land is Your Land." No, my journey will take place within four walls (give or take), and I think I'm more nervous about it than I would be if I were to hit the open road without a road map.

You see, I'm losing my pew. And I have to find a new one.

When I say I'm losing my pew, I don't mean that I'm losing it to a new family in church. Sure, that happens sometimes, and I greet them sweetly during that awful, awkward hand-shaking time, and then settle myself in to scowl behind them for the rest of the service. (And I ditch Sunday School five minutes early for a few weeks to make sure it doesn't happen again.)
And, it's not like we're going into a time when, like, all the youth have to sit in a designated spot--my spot--for a special series on Christian dating.

No, my spot, my pew, my SECTION is disappearing for a time of construction. What will remain afterwards remains to be seen. Nobody has been forthcoming, which means I can only assume the worst. And by the worst, I mean, of course, the balcony.
Now, I know there are bigger problems in this world. I sit around people who deal with bigger problems that this. (at leas, I used to...). For goodness' sake, I have bigger problems that this, but it's rattling nonetheless.
You see, we've marked this pew. That spot? Next to my Thompson NIV Chain Reference Bible? That's from the Sunday when our youngest son showed up withe the home-made Silly Putty he'd created in Sunday School. It leeched into the fabric, and I spent every Sunday for more than a month trying to pick it out of the fibers. Eleven Years Ago. I should have kept it and sent it to NASA.

That "help" message? Scratched into the pew in front? My boys swear none of them are responsible. I suppose it could be the work of some first-service hooligan, or a desperate Academy kid in chapel, but there have been several occasions when I have rested my head right next to that word, and "Lord, help me..." was the closest I could come to an articulated prayer.

I'm not merely a creature of habit. My spot was carefully chosen to take into account my attention span, angle of pulpit in respect to note-taking and screen-reading, and ration of people in front of me to those behind me which has a direct effect on how boldly I will attempt to sing the alto part of my favorite hymns. And, most importantly, there are zero kids. Since my own have grown, my tolerance has diminished exponentially.

I suppose, sometimes, God has to nudge us out of our rut, and as far as rut-nudgings go, this is pretty tame. So, look out Brothers and Sisters, I'm moving to your side of the church. If you're a gum-smacker, spit it out; if you're a candy-wrapper-rattler, put it away. And if you're a Soprano, well, my apologies in advance.

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