Monday, August 11, 2008

The Snickering, Weeping Heathen

There are two reasons I attend a particular local “generic” community church. One is that it’s not overly serious. If something strikes me funny (as it often does), people aren’t stone still. They could deal with a small, pressure relieving snicker. What happens when I suppress laughter in church is “blog-fodder” for the other parishioners. I might entitle their entries:

“Rude Demon in Pew 13” or

“Evidently… Satan has a Daughter.” But that’s just me….

Think I’m exaggerating?

At a Good Friday Catholic mass years ago, a guest priest presided, who had a little “pronunciation issue.” Every time he said…

“Wet us knee-ow” instead of “Let us kneel”---it tickled. Then…“Wet us stand.”

At these services, those two phrases get repeated about 2 million times. The dirtier a look my husband, Fred, sent me, and the longer the marathon of “speech-impeded” words went on, the more truly, awfully, miserably painful it was to keep the laughter in. At some “I-can’t-hold-it-in-any-longer” point, my young son David elbowed me, pointed to a statue and whispered, “Why doesn’t Jesus have any nipples?” I spit-sprayed “PBBSSST”---which caused a chain reaction in my two sons.

There IS no shame like crouching out of a somber mass, having a congregation of kneeling-Catholics turning backwards, looking at you like you’re bubbling up from Hell.

The second reason I like the community church is their upbeat music. With the electric guitars playing, it’s like I’m at a rock concert. I seek out “happy” music because traditional, hymnal, choir-type music makes me cry. Every time I hear it, I see my father in his later years, dressed in his suit and choir tie. When there are divided music parts—I hear his bass voice again.

I’m talking… total sap.

I sent my daughter to their Vacation Bible School last week. The program played a skit at the end of the day on Thursday. As soon as they started to play the SLOW music and the boys’ choir started to sing, “Run to Jesus”….I started sniffing. The scene on stage involved a man dressed to resemble Jesus with children bandaged up, limping to his outstretched arms and putting them near him. A couple comes in holding a baby and hands it to “Jesus” who takes it with him. At one point a feeble-looking old man is wheeled on stage and the “Jesus” character reaches for him to walk across the stage.

I became Frankie “Angel” in “Scrooged”…. NIAGRA FALLS! I was the Emerald City Oz-Guard when Dorothy is saying, “Oh...Now I’ll never get home.” Nothing helped….not a distracting zit on my chin… not “X”ing my skin to cause pain …nothing.

“How did you handle that?” I asked my daughter, who is also a sap.

“I was thinking of pickles.” she said.

“That was UNNECESSARILY sad!” I told Fred that night.

Imagine my distress when this Sunday, they reprised their performance at the Sunday morning service.

Cue the slow music.

I hear Krista saying, “Pickles, pickles, pickles.”

Cue the children’s choir.

Cue the WRECK in Row 34. Faucets on? It’s a go.

At least the lights were dim this time.

Fred, does not know what to do. I’m sure he’s just a little afraid I’m having some moment of “Rebirth” and I’ll put my hands up and run to pulpit (which would embarrass him….to death.) He’s found himself, as he often does, at a forked precipice.

“Do I comfort my wife, offer her my hand or a handkerchief, or do nothing?” he mulls.

Fred opts for nothing.

Mid-song, my daughter motions me to lean down.

“The baby is plastic.” she said.

That made me laugh, which sucked the tears back in my head.

Girls rule!


Jenie Altruda said...

My mother and I and my brothers all had and have moments like this. Like Mary Tyler Moore at the clown's funeral. Unbearable, and completely irrational pent up fits of laughter that have made me wet the pew. On the other hand, I avoid Easter service like the plague. I cannot handle it. I weep like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. I sob loudly, blow my nose and make everyone around me uncomfortable.

Again... Genetics.

Bev Spicknall said...

I have one word for you: hurlbut.
That's what you need to think about during the waterworks. Although I think your daughter's use of "pickles" is priceless!

I'm a fellow sap. I hear you - loud and clear.