I hadn’t sung in church since I was 19 years old. I told my daughters that I was going to be joining the youngest one as a portion of her 5th grade class participated in the Christmas Eve mass at her school’s church that night. She was mortified. My oldest daughter was “kinda” ok with it. Tough crowd they are.
“In case you didn’t know, girls, I used to sing professionally and made a dang good living at it, so be embarrassed all you want to.”
So I don’t practice a specific faith, even though I was raised up in an ultra-religious home. I now follow a path of numerous drums for the day that I live in, something that took me a while to understand was really OK for me. Much of that decision lies around early childhood trauma and it’s intermingling with said ultra-religious upbringing but before you tell me that you’ll pray for me and hope that I discover the way I need to be walking, please know that I am one of the most spiritual people you’ll ever run into…and those early experiences have brought me to that place. I learn so much from absolutely everyone I encounter, good, bad, and ugly (my Lutheran parents, my Catholic husband and children, my Buddhist girlfriend, my Church of Christ training client, my non-denominational niece, you get the picture).
One thing I enjoy about the Catholic tradition that my husband was brought up in is the reverence involved in their services. It feels like there are portions of the mass that are deep and thought-provoking meditations when I attend a service my children are involved in (right up my spiritual alley.) I hoped to honor that same reverence when I sang in the Christmas Eve mass but my charismatic musical delivery probably wouldn’t be the norm that my daughters’ school and church was used to.
The music teacher who accompanied me on guitar was amazing. She was encouraging and allowed me to sing from my heart. I was honored to be a part of such a sweet service where the Christmas pageant was acted out by the adorable 5th grade class. Being “me” has never been so difficult, however.
Speaking of Being “Me”
I was nervous to sing in church on that evening. Being “me” meant I had to let other people’s thoughts about who they believed I was go out the window and sing from my soul instead, an important lesson that both of my girls really needed to witness their Mom do in public. We all tend to walk around allowing others to see the best parts of ourselves (hello social media), not the shaky and unstable parts of us. I was a nervous wreck on the drive to the church and my kids had to see that side to appreciate the fact that your work doesn’t go away, I was still going to get up in front of a congregation of strangers and sing at a certain point of the service (and risk exposing my fear of what others would think.)
Luckily my youngest wasn’t mortified that I took part in her church service. And my high schooler was grinning at me when I came to sit with her after my musical portions were complete. And my family and friends surrounding me put their hands on my shoulder to let me know they’d heard and seen me…
…and don’t we all just want to be heard and seen?