Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sweaty Eyeballs

I did a thing I very much do not like to do on Monday.
Actually, I did two.
I assisted with the funeral of a dear saint of the church who was also a friend and neighbor. I am always honored to have the privilege, but dislike the necessity. I'd have preferred that we not have to have a funeral because she hadn't died, but I don't get to choose such things.
And I cried during the funeral.
There are some proprieties of worship leadership and appropriate church behavior that have been drilled into me as I grew up. I don't leave my arms uncovered in church: when I wear something sleeveless, I must also wear some sort of cover-up. Short sleeves are okay, but there must be some sort of sleeve. I haven't the slightest clue where this came from. I rarely wear pants, and never on a Sunday morning, in a worship service. Extreme weather or a more casual evening service might prompt an exception to this rule, but they are few and far between, and they make me uncomfortable. And stockings or hose of some ...its only been very recently that I have followed the trend of most of the women in the congregation and forgone these when I am wearing a long skirt or dress (which is almost always). And I don't cry in church.
Now, you must understand that I am good at crying. I have always been a crier. Sometimes I can't even explain what I'm crying about. It's sort of like the valve on a pressure cooker for me--it helps me let off a little steam/stress. But as a rule, I try to keep it to myself, or at least save it for home. I am not helped by the fact that once my eyes start to tear, from a yawn or emotion or allergies, they will continue to run. Excessive lachrymation, it's called. I call it a bother.
So when I say I cried at the funeral, I am not saying that I leaked a tear or two. I became choked up during my part of the service, and went on to cry for most of the rest of it. For part of the time, I was still crying because I was angry at myself for crying. For some of the time, I was alternately silently giggling a little and crying, as I tried to jolly myself out of it--hence the sweaty eyeballs, which is one of the things I said to myself.
I am sorry for myself that I cried during the funeral, because I feel badly about it. But one of the friends of the family reminded me that sometimes it can be a comfort and connection to the grieving family to see that the pastor is also grieving. I hope so...I've hidden a few tears sitting in their home over the last five years when a prayer left me with wet eyes. My only real concern is that the funeral does not then become about my grief, and this one did not. Fortunately I was able to finish my part and quietly (slowly) get myself together as Eric did his. And both of us work hard to be mindful that we both mourn loss and celebrate resurrection. I think we managed to do that this time...
I just don't much want it to happen again.
And I hope we get a break for a couple of months, at least, before we have another funeral.

1 comment:

  1. oh i can understand why you were angry at yourself... but how good, how real, authentic and with the family you were.

    hope the holiday weekend brings you some rest... relaxation....


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