Thursday, June 19, 2008

"I'm late! I'm late!! For a very important date!!"

On sunday morning I had arrived at church about 5-10 minutes late. Not an unusual thing, but not very conducive to singing in the choir, at least for me. I find myself not wanting to be disruptive once the service begins and not wanting to charge up there. It would be different if we had our Cathedral =) and there was a choir loft separate from the main body of the church. As it were, I would have to wade through people and the entire choir to get to where I would stand.
I stood there with a heavy heart, wishing we had not been late. I was remembering that all things are in God's time and that if I am late, I will learn from it. It still did not stop a certain feeling of yearning, so I sang there standing with everyone else. The Slavonic is tricky at times, even when I am trying to read it in front of me, but I did my best. I glanced at the choir on occasion, looking for a sort of approval from Matushka to head up there, but accepted that it would more than likely not happen. I looked up at the icons of Christ. First to the one of Him in the Last Supper and then to His main one. I gazed into His calming eyes and implored Him for strength to either go up there at the right time (unknowingly) or have someone come get me. I know, silly. My eyes welled up, but I stood trying to keep focus, looking mainly to Christ. I gave my heart over in broken song and tear-stained eyes, heavy as it was.
When the doors and curtain closed, I took a moment to get a small drink of water. I had a bit of a scratchy throat between all that and pollen in the air. As soon as I got downstairs, Sasha put me to work cutting up pineapple. Our guest from Russia was serving with Frs Boris and Michael, so there was much preparation for the meal afterward. I thought to myself, "At least I am doing some sort of service, perhaps this is where I belong today." My wonderful husband knew how much it meant to me to sing and asked if I was alright. I chose to keep my mouth shut and try to be industrious, after a labored half-smile. Wise choice on my part, through the Grace of God. I am prone to opening my mouth with good intentions and then apologizing for what I have said because I do not have the right words. I slipped Katherine a bit of pineapple and told her to go be with her dad back into church. She shoved it into her mouth and went like a good girl despite the small protest of wanting me instead. I had finished one pineapple and went in search of a plate, told a girl who offered help she could cut the strawberries and so on. Sasha looked at me and said that I could be finished and could I please find Sophia (her oldest girl, nearly 8) and see if she would stand in line to ask if she could have Fr hear her confession. (On occasion, Fr Boris will hear confession during veneration from those who come from very far or children whose parents could not get them there the night before). Nothing else, I mean NOTHING, could have gotten me back up those stairs, I had accepted my fate.
I ascended the chairs looking for Sophia and thinking of how I might word what I would say if I had a had a chance to speak with Matushka. I have to think ahead, otherwise I don't make any sense, esp when it is something near to my heart. In any case, I found Sophia up there looking a bit bewildered and told her what her mom said. She told me how she worried because she did not remember everything she had done during the week except 2 things. I talked to her, but she was still worried. I fetched Sasha and she came to her and they worked it out. I saw Matushka up there on the kliros and ventured up to see her momentarily. I explained that I was sorry to be late to the service, but I am not always sure of when to come up there as I do not wish to cause disturbance. She said to not worry about it and would I like to stay for the rest, she would explain to me later when the best times are if I am running late. There was just a simple unexplainable feeling I had at that moment...
After the service, during the lunch, Matushka relayed her own stories of how she used to show up at church late (before Fr Boris was a priest) to the choir with children under arm, blowing through the door. She said that most people with children are rarely there exactly on time, we just do our best and find a Litany to tip toe up there =) She is really a very good Matushka.
I sang with as much conviction I could and stayed through the kneeling prayers afterward. It was good. I cannot tell you what I learned precisely that day, but I thought I might take you with me on that portion of my journey. It was good and I am sure this is more than just the beginning of my adventures ;-)


Marfa said...

What an account of the day...I enjoyed reading it. After my girls were born, I decided I shouldn't continue to sing in the choir, but you bet I sing from my spot on the left hand side by the window! Today I was invited to sing in our Russian Folk singing group...I'm so honored. They've been together for 2 years and sing at our Festival (in Sept)!