TITLE: "Don't Bug Me, I'm Worshiping!" 1/17/18
By L. Osmon
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
SEND ARTICLE TO A FRIEND
My mom was the kind of gal who expected you to meet her needs the moment they came into her mind. So, it should not have surprised me when those same expectations came with her to church that Sunday morning. By the time she had rattled off her list of complaints during our 12 minute commute and had conducted an involved expedition for the best seat in the sanctuary, I was exhausted. However, it was when she demanded her purse be hung on her walker “the right way” for the 10th time that I felt pushed over the edge. I considered taking up smoking at that very moment, right there in the pew. Instead I stepped out to collect myself before singing songs entitled, “Lord, I Will Do Whatever You Ask”.
After 10 minutes I was in a better frame of mind and returned to see my mom enjoying the melodic rhythm of the congregation. I reminded myself that her anger came from a root of fear and anxiety. Her life long struggle. I needed to celebrate that she was there with me and hope she would have a spiritual breakthrough. Soaking in the moment, I stood up to join the chorus of worship surrounding me.
Then came a light “tap-tap” on my left hip. I ignored it, raised my hands and sang a bit louder.
“Don’t bug me, I’m worshiping!”, I thought - hoping it would not come spilling out of my mouth. By now my arms were raised high, swaying to the music. The song was entitled, “Jesus, I’m Keeping my Eyes on You (...and not my mother!)” All good on the outside; volcano ready to blow on the inside.
“Jesus help me - I’m going to lose it!”, could almost be heard as a hum between my gritted teeth.
“WHAAAT?!!” I bent over, showing my best non-verbal dragon face.
In the sweetest, calmest voice I have ever heard my mother use she said, “Honey, you have a long piece of toilet seat paper hanging out of the back of your pants. I’ve been trying to get it, but you kept moving around.”
Did I mention we were in the third row from the front? Can't imagine who all were rooting for her as she tried over and over again to grab the paper out of my backside. The expression, “Can I have a witness?” has a whole new meaning now. I sat down, quickly removing my uninvited accessory and remained in my seat for the rest of the service. My mom kept her eyes forward as I plotted how to open the emergency door without setting off the alarm.
The following week there was another kind of interruption. It had been a difficult morning and once again I had arrived emotionally exhausted. Finding the right seat had gone smoother this time though. I stood with the congregation as the first song started, but was having a hard time concentrating.
“Oh no you don’t!”, I thought to myself and scooted over a bit.
I began whispering between the stanzas. “Lord, I am so hurt. She needs to apologize!” Tears were starting to well up. It felt like the music was carrying me.
“Don’t bug me, I’m WORSHIPING!” I almost shouted, but held my tongue not wanting to make another scene. Subconsciously, I touched the back of my pants – all good.
“This really needs to stop!”, crept out of my mouth. I peered at the seat next to me, it was empty of course. I had come alone. Mom had blown up at me that morning and decided she didn’t want to come to church.
Tap... “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest,” said a familiar voice.
“Oh! Jesus - it’s YOU!” I sat down, putting my head in my hands. “Sorry about that. I am so frustrated. I know she’s my mom, but I can only take so much. As soon as this service is over I’m going to call and give her a piece of… uh... my prayer.” I started singing again. Maybe a bit too fast.
Tap. Tap. “You will be worshiping right next to her in heaven, so how about forgiving her now just as I have forgiven you? Oh, and by the way, you have something hanging out of your eye. Possibly a branch.”
I let out a sigh. Apparently, I wasn't dealing with "subtle Jesus". There was no doubt which Bible verse he was referring to; “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Thinking to myself, “I know I need to ask her to forgive me, but it’s too soon. Aren’t I entitled to put her on a waiting list? These are her issues, not mine. Is Jesus just going to let her off the hook?” Then it occurred to me…
“Uh, you can hear me, can’t you?”, I said under my breath.
Only a patient silence could be detected.
“I know. I hurt her too."
“I’ll be with you every step of the way”, was the response.
I started to feel peaceful and uncomfortable all at the same time. This was not going to be easy, but I knew how I chose to respond would have an impact on many levels. Then it occurred to me; maybe I was the one who needed that spiritual breakthrough. As I stood back up to worship I gave thanks for interruptions, did a quick wardrobe check and then made a mental note to call my mom.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.