Blinks… Yawns… Wha…!
OK, so I’m on the 12th day of 16 days away from main job, but on the first day with nothing planned, nothing to do, no distractions (I’ve spent the past two days doing something I’d offered to do a while ago, but only got given the files to go through this week! Think I’ve found the issues…)
Yes, yes, yes, I have a list of around the house tasks I could be doing, but I don’t want to do any of them. Well, not today or tomorrow, or even the next day, at any rate.
I always knew in my mind when I took on the organist’s job, that Holy Week would be the pivotal point. Starting in October meant getting Christmas and Holy Week in the first six months. Oh, and the Sundays I dislike most, and have managed to avoid for the last three years. (For the curious, that would be Remembrance, Harvest, Mothering Sunday – Mothering Sunday merits a whole post of its own, but when I’ve processed it a bit more.) I’ve done a couple of funerals, some schools services, and some other types of services and got a good idea of how the clergy and readers work now. (Very useful, that one.) I’ve got some ideas up my sleeves for changing some things, but nothing drastic. I’ve found out what works, and what doesn’t, and it feels like that organ is my instrument now. I still have occasional moments of pressing the wrong button, but there are less and less of them. I still occasionally drown everyone out by making too much noise. But, if the vast majority of the congregation will sit at the back, right under where the sound comes from, then I am completely unrepentant. The only cure for that one is to move and sit in the pews nearer the front!! [Editor: Come on, these are Anglicans. you know they don’t sit in the front pews unless forced to do so.]
I’d attended Holy Week services in whichever church I’d been in over the previous three years, (long term readers will be aware there have been several!) and apart from one or two moments, never felt part of the proceedings. Yes, I would’ve described them as “good”, and looking back at the blog posts of those weeks that’s exactly what I did. But, it was from the point of view of someone who was looking in and assessing, someone with a tick-sheet noting what was and wasn’t done. Someone who was there, appreciating, but not really a part of the whole. Which, I guess, sums up those three years in the church wilderness beautifully.
This year, I was kind of expecting to be an observing, assessing type again. I had a clear role, appropriate music, and hymn accompanying to be provided, without distracting from the liturgy. I think, on the whole, that was all done pretty well. The errors were all my own, and mostly hidden ones. I’ve always tried to remain fairly detached emotionally during Holy Week, if only because the emotional roller coaster can be huge, and it’s flipping hard work playing the organ or any musical instrument, if you’re crying so much you can’t see the music. (OK, so that so nearly happened on Mothering Sunday – except, I managed to delay it until coffee time, then just stayed at the organ and played and played and cried and played and cried…. )
The biggest difference was that I seem to have become a part of the church community in much deeper ways than I’d realised, and going through Holy Week with your community is one totally different experience from the attending everything in Holy Week in the hopes that this bunch of people will become your community. Because, they didn’t. But this lot have. Maybe battling the week together through snow helped… Or the complete and utter fit of the giggles we nearly all had around Tuesday, no, I can’t remember why either, but I do remember thinking “I do love you lot!”.
No, I didn’t choose this lot – in fact, this church had been on my list of churches to avoid at all costs because of past connections. They didn’t really chose me either, (well, they agreed to the suggestion!) but they seem to have got used to me.
So, not only did I provide the music, I went through the complete gamut of emotions on the roller coaster with everyone else as well. Indeed, it was all very good.