Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hello in there (blue christmas)

I went to the bank today to drop off my deposit for work and, for the first time, I did not go inside. I went to the drive-up and stayed in the car instead.

I had always made a point to go inside and speak to a teller in person. Just like I'd always noted the name of hairdressers, waitresses, sales people and such. When I pastored a church I always put effort into learning and calling people by name, and sending everyone a birthday card. I suppose it doesn't mean much, but I've always felt it was little things like that that could make life more meaningful.

I'm beginning to think it's not so important anymore. I didn't go inside the bank today because, honestly, I've grown tired of being ignored. It seems every time I walk in the tellers will start doing something to look busy and no one ever talks to me. It's been this way for awhile, and it's not just at the bank.

I don't think I'm overly annoying. But, then, I guess no one thinks 'they're' annoying. I don't know if it's my age, or I'm just boring to talk to, or if people are different in general nowadays. Regardless of what it is, I can start to feel myself sort of crawling inside my shell. It's not that it's a bad place, but it feels kind of like I'm giving up.

Anyway, this past Sunday night our church had a "Blue Christmas" service. I'd heard of them before, but this was the first one I've ever attended. It was pretty nice. This is a service for those who are in mourning, or who want to remember lost loved ones during the holiday season. It allows a time to gather without having to put on a celebratory face; and also gives people a chance to recognize those they miss. I kind of like this idea, because contrary to what some people think, grief isn't something you can just "get over"... but it's something one has to "work through."

There weren't a ton of people there. The lights were soft and low. It was pretty liturgical in that it was mostly responsive readings and simple Scriptures. Sunny and another girl sang several songs throughout. At one point we were asked to fill in the name of the person or people we were remembering, then we lit a candle in their memory. We were to put our card with the name(s) on it in a bowl up front when we lit our candle.

I felt a little awkward because there wasn't really anyone in particular I felt like I was grieving. For awhile I thought maybe I would write down that I wanted to remember my old self, but that sounded kind of odd. It wasn't necessarily my old, old self I wanted to remember, but the one that felt closer to God and others. Finally I just wrote down "old friends." And I did want to remember, and grieve, over them. So I put my "old friends" card in the bowl, and lit my candle.

It was kind of strange, because I actually felt some relief after that. It was kind of like some of the hardness drifted away. Then when we took communion, it got lighter still. Interestingly, the music and singing throughout the evening wasn't "congregational" singing, but during/after communion I noticed that Jane started singing. I believe it was 'Silent Night.' I started singing/humming along too. Then they moved into 'Amazing Grace,' and I think almost everyone there joined in. We didn't need hymnals or words on a screen. We knew it. That ended the formal service, but they kept playing music and most everyone sat there for awhile longer. It ended very well, and I'm glad we went.

I don't know what exactly will come of it, but for the moment it was nice. Again, I guess I did go to the drive-through at the bank today, but life is pretty large, and there's a lot that can happen. So, I don't know...