Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Next to Last Pew

Most people have "a spot" in church, a favorite place they always sit. We have one, too -- the next to the last pew on the far side.

To be honest, it's a lonely place.

Why so lonely?

Because we sit alone, first Brielle and then me. While I sign (not sing) the songs at church at the beginning of service, she sits by herself. After that, I take her downstairs with the other young children of the church to Sunday School. When I come back up after the sermon has started, I sit alone.

Why just me and Brielle?

Brian isn't a believer. Unlike me, he didn't grow up attending church. I knew this about him when I married him and it didn't matter at the time. I simply went through the motions of irregularly attending church until the girls were born. I attended more regularly then, but wasn't committed and didn't have a personal relationship with God until about seven years ago. I can't blame Brian. I'm the one who changed, not him. Brian is respectful of my faith, although I'm sure he doesn't understand it. How could he?

Ashley used to come with us, but hasn't for nearly five years. She had parents with different beliefs and, therefore, different habits every Sunday. I'm sure Brian's were more appealing when she was a teenager, unsure of so much in her life.

So, it's just me and Brielle. It's not what I want, but it's what I have, for now.

I usually stand on one side of the stage to sign. I have to "quietly" move from the stage to my seat after the opening songs, slip back into my seat  after I come back from taking Brielle to her Sunday School class, and then back up to the stage again to sign the last song. Sitting in the back and on the side makes more sense.

(Is it the left or the right? I never understood how to indicate that. Like baseball or stage directions, it always seems backwards to me. Either way, it's on the same side I stand on the stage.)

I'd sit in the last row, but the youth of our church usually sit there. I remember being young, sitting in the back of church with my friends. It was so much more "fun" than sitting with my parents, although I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe it's because everyone wants to belong, to be with others like themselves. I miss being asked by a friend to sit with them like when I was a teenager.

Brielle and I each sit alone in church, until recently.

A "new" friend and her husband offered, quite out of the blue, to sit with us. No one has ever offered to do that. I've wondered if anyone ever noticed we each sit alone. Almost no one else sits alone. Everyone seems to have a spouse or friend to sit with us. Now we do, too.

It's a simple thing really, but it has made such a difference in my Sunday morning experience these last few weeks. Like my days as a young person, I want to belong, be with others. Somehow, purposefully sitting with someone makes a difference.

So, I ask you, those who attend church regularly. Do you have a spot? Do you know of an acquaintance who sits alone? Have you ever sat alone? Do you remember what that feels like?

God did not intend for any of us to sit alone. He wanted us to truly gather together.

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." - Matthew 18:20

Where do you sit???

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