Monday, 12 March 2018

Take Me To Church

I don't sing hymns in church.  Haven't done for nearly 20 years.

Not that the requirement to do so comes up very often - I tend to avoid going through the door at all in case the Heathen Alert goes off and I spontaneously combust.

There are, generally speaking only three times I ever go to church:
1) Christening for the child of a friend/relative
2) Marriage of a friend/relative
3) Funeral of a friend/relative

Of course: any of these can happen in any order, but in general, and as you get older, you start to get slightly more of what lies behind door number three

The last time I sang in church was actually at the funeral of my Nan, nearly 18 years ago.  Although generally speaking I have concerns around partaking in ceremonies that I don't believe in (I don't, for instance, believe that you should have a child christened just because it is a Nice And Expected Thing To Do, nor should you get married in a church because it's Traditional: only do either of the above if you are actually religious and go regularly) - my actual reason for stopping was more straightforward: I can't sing them properly.

The pitch is just wrong for my voice - I either have to come in very low, or slightly too high: and either way it sounds like I'm making fun of the service, which I'm really not (at my Nan's funeral I stopped because I was unintentionally making my brother laugh)

I say this because last Friday I went to a funeral -  a friend of my parents that they had jointly known for 50 years and whose kids we had grown up knowing - and of course I didn't sing.  The service itself was pleasant as it goes, but it reaffirmed my own feeling that instead of some stranger standing up and saying "I never got to meet..." I need to write out something to be said when I pop my clogs (hopefully in the very far away and distant future)

I managed to make it through an entire half-an-hour without anyone pointing at me and yelling "unbeliever!" and we moved on to the wake where it soon became clear that neither of her kids actually recognised me - no real surprise as it had been about 30 years since we last saw them

When I did introduce myself to her daughter she apologized for not having recognised me and said, "You've broadened out, haven't you?" - and then, realizing what she'd said, added, "Of course we all have..." she added - looking down at her stick-thin contours

The Son finally came over and it was an odd experience because he was larger and bald and tattooed he was exactly the same and pretty much how I imagined he would turn out.  When he finally smiled in recognition it was like the kid I had known peered out from behind older eyes

I don't really have a point to this post. If you are religious and enjoy singing hymns then I'm glad that you have that.  If you have recently met with someone who you used to know and find that, underneath all the exterior changes, there is still some of that person in you then think about what you have gained and not what you have lost.  As Paul Simon once said - after changes upon changes we are more or less the same


The Bug said...

I love to sing hymns! But you're right about the pitch - I tend to sing alto when I can figure it out because otherwise I'm just squeaking on the high notes.

Since we moved back home I'm seeing old friends every now & then, but thanks to Facebook I usually know who they are. I'll admit to a jolt when I first saw the FB picture for some of them. I'm sure they felt the same about me! I'm definitely broader than I used to be (and more of an old broad too!).

English Rider said...

I offered to go do "God Stuff" with a friend worried about a very sick child in her family. She knew my feelings for her were very deep as she knew that would not be something I'd normally do.
Some other people I've been helping gave me a cross necklace yesterday. I thanked them, of course, and wore it for a short time. It made me uncomfortable as I was making a false pretense. I think she saw that and asked if I'd like another "charm". I mentioned a lucky horse shoe or such. It was awkward but honest.