We’re creatures of habit around here. We just can’t help ourselves.
We like Trader Joe’s Free Trade Breakfast Blend coffee in the morning--black. I only use Tide. Every Saturday morning at 8:30, B takes the girls out to breakfast to the same little dive they've been going to for years.
And we sit on the left side of church, sixth row back. We used to sit in the fifth row, but that’s the wobbly pew, so we switched to the sixth row a couple of years ago.
Boy, did that cause a stir!
So, a couple of weeks ago, when Kate said, “Mom, why do we always sit in the same place at church every Sunday? Why don’t we ever sit anywhere else?” I started to get real nervous. A change was in the air.
Did I mention I’m a creature of habit? Change does not sit well with me.
“Ah . . . um . . . well . . .” I stammered, knowing full well what was coming next. I thought about giving her the explanation that we were really secretly Anglicans from the 1700s and that we had paid for our pew, but I didn’t think that would go over real well, so I just stammered some more.
“Why don’t we just try sitting in a different place next week?” she asked. Ah, the innocence of youth.
Never one to be called a fuddy-duddy, even though sometimes I really am, and always up for a challenge, I put on my most cheerful face and my most enthusiastic voice and said, “Sure! We can do that!” even though inside I was dying a slow and painful death and thinking that this would somehow go terribly wrong.
So the next Sunday, B and I were the first ones to "our" pew—sixth row back on the left—when suddenly I said, “Hey, remember, Kate wanted to try sitting in a different place this week?”
So B and I decided to move to the opposite side of the church. Sixth row back. (Come on now, you really couldn’t expect us to completely change our ways now, would you?)
What happened next was truly strange. It was like I suddenly became OCD and just couldn’t, for the life of me, walk like an adult over to the “other” side of the church. My stomach tightened and my palms began to sweat. Because what might happen to me over there? I mean, who are those people who sit over there? What if they don’t recognize us? What if they don’t want us sitting on their side of the church? What if they don’t like us? What if? What if? What if?
B pulled me out of my stupor and dragged me to the “other side.”
“Come on! This will be a fun experiment.” I wasn’t so sure.
Maggie had just arrived in the sanctuary, so we dragged her along with us. We sat down behind a family we actually know, so I started to relax a little as we got settled in, but as I looked around me I barely recognized anyone.
Oh my gosh, what if someone thinks we’re visitors?! How embarrassing would it be to say that, no, we're not new; we’ve been coming here for over 25 years? I desperately wanted to get up and run back to my beloved sixth row pew, but, glancing over, I noticed that it was already taken.
I gotta say, the service was weird for me. Out of whack. The music was dissonant. I couldn’t sing. I almost forgot the words to the Apostles Creed which is one of those liturgical beauties that I’ve been saying since I was about ten. Frankly, it was hard to concentrate on pretty much anything. (Sorry, Jay, but I couldn’t pay attention to the sermon that week either.)
And the coup de resistance was when the little boy sitting behind us did what so many little boys do—he let one fly during the sermon. And then giggled with his little sister. Since none of us were paying attention to much of anything except our new surroundings, we all had to try to hold in giggles too. What a mess!
Last week, as we drove past church one day, one of the girls said, “What a stupid idea that was.”
“What idea?” I asked.
“Thinking we should sit somewhere else. Let’s never do that again.”
We all agreed that we missed our beloved little congregation on the left side of the church. And while we love our friends who sit on the “wrong” side, we just can’t join them. Because they’re right. And we’re left.
And that's just the way it has to be.
Anybody else ever try switching seats in church? How did it go for you?