Saturday night, my brother's kids were dedicated at their church, The Grove Community Church. More than 30 years ago, the Grove was known as Riverside Union Church (eventually becoming Victoria Community Church); and it was where my brother & I went to church.
Every Sunday, we would get up early, get dressed, get a quarter from my Dad for the offering and wait for the church van to come pick us up. It was a huge white and green passenger van with the name of the church painted on the side. Later, it would be an embarrassment to me. But at the age of 7, it was just how we got to church.
Church was incredibly rewarding and painful for me. As a child, it was arts and crafts and songs and snacks; make new friends, play on the playground. When I was old enough to go into the sanctuary for Sunday services, I was always lost in the music - one woman, Lucy, could hit notes higher than Mariah. I loved watching the choir in their robes, listening to the blending of voices. I didn't understand most of the words; and it didn't matter at the time, I just wanted to be swept up in the music and power.
Then, I entered junior high school. I was probably 5'11" by this time - chubby, tall, awkward. And, this was about the time the youth ministry would put on plays, musicals. The church would have 1 or 2 musicals during the year. I started out loving them - costumes, singing (which I couldn't do), acting, lights, stage. I never was a ham; didn't want any attention in my direction than what was already coming my way (you're so tall, blah blah blah). I was more than content to be part of the choir, in the back of course. Until, one day, I was asked to play a part in one show. Whoa. No thanks! I was to be the snake in the Garden of Eden, tempting Adam & Eve. When I declined, I was told I was the only one who could do it because I was so big. Wow. I didn't like that at all. But how could I tell people at church that I didn't want to participate? I didn't know. So, for weeks of rehearsals and two weeks' worth of performances, I was dressed in green pants & green shirt, wearing swimmer's goggles with lenses colored red with a Magic Marker. Luckily I wasn't asked to writhe on the floor like a snake.
Another musical had me dressing as a hula girl. Not as bad as a snake, but as the hula girl I had to sing! Out loud. In front of other people. Ohh the horror! In the rehearsals, the production director had to keep reminding me to sing out loud because I whispered. She told me I had a beautiful voice. But I could hear it.
The final straw for me came when the youth ministry put on a contemporary musical about high school. The music was sooo cool! And there was ONE SONG I really really wanted to sing. I mean really really. Come auditions day, I went in, full of confidence; belted out the song to the best of my (limited) ability in front of the woman who told me I had a beautiful voice. Well, I didn't get it. I was crushed. However, I did get to help move the sets & props around with the boys. I remember the first night of the musical, while the girl sang my song, I cried a little bit.
I'm sorry I didn't enjoy those times more; sorry I wasn't the Rissa I am now so the experience would be filled with more happy for me. I can feel the happy now as I look back, just wish it was more tangible for me then.
I was a snake. LOL.