Being More

"I am more than the anxiety." I repeated to myself as my ride to the church happened a tad too late and the clock swayed too close to 10:30am. "Please," I asked, "give me enough strength that I wake up early enough to catch the bus and bring myself to church."

"I am more than a crush." I repeated to myself as I walked up the steps leading to the narthex of the church. "I am more than a broken dream and unfulfilled promises." I swung the door open, an elder greeted me with a huge smile. "Please," I asked, "lead me not into temptation and save me from evil."

"I am more than the tiredness from working too long on weekends." I glided across the carpet all the way to the front; one, two, three. My predestined seat is in the third row, north side of the sanctuary. The announcements linger a note too long. The piano or the organ, or both, and the spirit begin to infuse the room. Not a minute too late or too soon. The right beginning to the day. All in God's time.

And I learned from the hymns I sang. And I wished my church family the peace and grace of Christ. And I read from the Bible. And I sat quiet enough to hear the sermon. And I felt my head lean back, staring at the lights hanging from the ceiling. And my gaze shifted to the choir, sitting in the front left side. And I looked at that woman, the one I've attached heartache to because she spoke quietly and strongly one day: We don't need your help.

And I am more than heartache because she's not my entire church family. And I just wanted to help. But I'm so afraid of her, of the hurt she represented to me and others. But I am more than collateral. God closed my eyes and my head fell forward.

"Didn't you forget me when you forgot you were my son [Sopphey Vance]?"

Yes? I was blinded by pain, my excuse of the century. I wanted to make it go away. Fully knowing, you could help me, I told you I didn't need your help. And I need your help. Please. I'm so tired.

And my heart opened, like an ulcer it bled unhappiness and hurt. And my eyes watered. And I felt so tired so I stayed sitting down. And I mumbled the response hymn. And I whispered the apostles creed, traditional version. And my mouth moved, to pray. And I prayed the prayers our pastor led.

"What, why am I crying?" My head fell forward and down more. "Why are there tears? Am I sad? Why is the pastor crying? Is he okay? Is someone someone dying? Is his family okay? No way, he can't be crying."

I opened my eyes. The pastor dried his eyes.

Maybe I should have stayed home and slept. Or have eaten more to have enough energy to last me through worship. But I am more than excuses to skip church. I'm more than my troubles and decisions. Yet, at the same time, I'm not anything if not clueless about faith and what it truly means to believe. And I definitely don't know enough of what it means to be a child of God. But I know that sound, that stillness in the room when He talks. And that voice is always there.


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