Saturday, January 14, 2023

Overheard at Table 2: Memorial Service Guilt Trip

I play in the church band, and our drummer's dad died just before Christmas.

Yesterday, we get a message on all the various group chats from Church that there's a memorial service today at 5pm.  Just so happens that my wife is headed out of the country today (took her to the airport this morning), so I was freed up to go to the memorial service tonight.  I didn't know the drummer's dad (he didn't belong to any church and their relationship was strained), but I was going to go for the drummer, because he's my friend.

My wife - full confession - has been having some strains on our relationships at church, and it's an hour away. so I know that if she weren't leaving today, she would want me to skip it to stay home and help continue with the kitchen renovation.  But since she's gone ... my time is now my own.

So, the moment I dropped my wife off at church, here comes a text message from the Church Band leader (who is also the Pastor's wife) to the 11 people who are part of the church band.  This is a group text just to us, NOT part of any of the other current chat groups.

The message says that the drummer and his wife (who sings in the group) do a lot for the church and really help out, and that we all should really go to try to support them.  She ended the long text with "Mourn with those who mourn."

Now, this text really irks me.  First of all, now, none of us in the church band now will know if we are showing up out of our desire to be there, or because we were guilted into going.   One guy immediately replied that his son was being rushed to the hospital so he wouldn't be there.  

Imagine feeling so guilty that you had to take the time to tweet that!

Second, the message had a tone (yeah, I know, we're not supposed to put "tone" in texts or email, but this tone was unmistakable) of condescending guilt, as though we were teenagers who need to be cajoled into common courtesy and decency.

My thought is, "I'm a fully grown adult in my fifth decade on this planet, and I will go to whatever service I want to go to and I will pass up any service I want to pass up.  And I'll take whatever consequential results arise from either decision, but don't treat me like a child."

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, the Pastor's wife is probably concerned that no one will show up, simply because no one knew this man (again, he was not a congregant), and is simply trying to make sure that there is sufficient attendance not to seem pathetic.   Still, though ... it irked me.

Irks me still.

Even as I'm pressing my slacks and trying to determine which suit coat to wear.

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