Boy am I glad I did.
As I have mentioned in the past, my religious denomination is fluid. I connect strongly with the singing and praising in church, but only weakly with the rituals and words. I usually look for a church that has a strong choir with good repertoire that I want to sing in, and where the sermons don’t offend my delicate senses. By, for example, denigrating women, or immigrants, or people of color, or LGBT groups/people, or simply by being holier-than-thou arrogant.
St Phillips in the Hills Episcopalian of Tucson is none of those things, and the choir is rockin’. When I auditioned for the choir last year, I was delighted to learn how open the church was, how welcoming, and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it.
So why wouldn’t I want to go?
It seemed rude, and pushy. I had emailed the choir director early in the week and not heard back from him before the Thursday night rehearsal, so I hadn’t been there. I sang in the choir last year, but it requires an audition to get in, and they generally don’t allow anyone to start in the middle of the season.
Also, I’m only back in Tucson for a couple months, and showing up in the middle of the Christmas preparation season, when the current members have already spent tons of time getting ready for the numerous Christmassy events seems, well, rude.
Also also, I knew that if I showed up, the director would feel pressured to let me back in the group to sing, even if that weren’t the best thing for the choir, because everyone would be so excited to see me.
But I needed the community. And I needed to sing. And I wanted to go to church. So despite my trepidation, I went.
After finishing my mini-argument with myself, I hopped in my car and drove to St Phillips. I walked in the door of the church and instantly started grinning like an idiot. I was smiling so huge my face hurt. My heart was hammering a staccato of joy and felt like it would burst out of my chest from glee.
Can We Please Hurry Up And Get To The "Peace Be With You"?
But I absolutely could not wait for the “Peace Be With You” part of the service, where you get up and shake hands and huge people around you and wish them peace.
I was practically vibrating as I mentally urged the minister to hurry up with the sermon so I could get up and go back to the choir to say “hi.” I managed to not jump up and down in my seat, but not by much, as I waited impatiently. I felt like a puppy waiting for daddy to come home, and the instant the minister said “peace be with you,” I raced back to the choir to collect hugs and happy welcome messages from my friends, my joy radiating palpably to everyone around me.
I’m so glad I went. Not only did I get to connect with my church choir community, I also got to sing in the hymns, and sing along quietly to myself with one of the pieces the choir did (My Lord What A Mornin’), and felt absolutely ecstatic while I did.
Have I Ever Mentioned That I Love To Sing?
What a day.