Friday I spent most of the day at work desperately trying to get things done despite the fact I was entirely too distracted and excited like a little kid about the Christmas party that Shimmin and I were throwing that evening. I seriously felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve. The party was great, we had a keg and homemade egg nog (with and without alcohol options were available) that I stayed up making Thursday night, and people shouted Christmas carols obnoxiously to our impromptu (and not terribly melodious) accompaniament of guitar and djembe. But every one had fun.
Saturday morning I got up and helped at a local outreach's Santa's workshop, where I got to help poor kids find presents for their parents and grandparents for free from the tables and tables of donations available. The kids had fun, I think, and I got to help bless them with gloves and socks and mittens, and gifts to give their parents. That afternoon I had lunch with some friends, ran some errands, and then packed for Chicago. We drove there, and once there went to a Christmas party with a bunch of Shimmin's friends from when he was an undergrad. Great party. Got checked into the hotel room and to sleep around two in the morning.
Sunday we woke up and drove home, saw RotK at the theater (went straight to the theaters from the interstate, didn't even stop at the house), Shimmin drove me to church for worship team practice, we practiced, and then after the service we went to a local pub for some much needed food and beer. We got to bed around 11:00, and then proceeded to toss and turn all night. I can think of four separate times when we were both simultaneously awake and unable to get comfortable and fall asleep.
It was a great weekend, but today I am groggy and groggy and groggy. And I don't have a great deal of hope for a nap today, unless as I am suspecting may happen, I simply fall asleep here at my computer. Later I have to pick Shimmin up from the lab, go shopping for last minute Christmas presents, arrive at his parents house with the presents wrapped, and then spend the evening with his parents and his sister and her husband. This will be fun, but also probably grueling if I still feel then as I do now.
Anyway... random thoughts. Shimmin's undergrad friends are lovely people, who are great fun to talk to. I got to listen to them banter about the lack of a "coming-of-age" ceremony in our culture, and how people don't really learn how to be adults anymore in America, and that was good. Eagle Scouts and Bar Mitzvahs came up in the discussion, but despite these few cultural occurances, they don't really count for a great deal. Thirteen year olds (I was surprised to learn that there are 13 year Eagle Scouts!) aren't adults yet in this day and age, and that's about all there is to it. I got to put in my big two cents about how we're the most educated and privileged people in the world, so it's our job to make sure that people get the skills and training they need to grow up on a local, person to person level, and someone said that it was pretty pretentious of me to state that I knew what was best for the rest of the uneducated world. I didn't have to answer that, because someone else asked her if the uneducated world was more qualified to make that decision or something like that. Anyway, good discussion. Glad I listened more than spoke, because I'd have opened my mouth up more about how kids should (and do) learn that stuff at church, if their church is a good one, and I'd like to get to know them all before I start mentioning my faith too much.
Had a tough time at worship practice. Seems that someone who plays piano and sings is being trained as a worship leader, and was touted to have some special "[that person's name] blessing," so whatever they were singing was obviously the right thing to sing. I got really frustrated and almost told them that I might as well leave** because I wasn't going to be a productive member of the team because that person couldn't stay on a consistent harmony (and indeed came out with some pretty off-key stuff at a few moments), and therefore I couldn't make a counter-harmony up and even if I did, she'd just jump to it and then we'd be singin in unison. She'd be singing a third below the melody, so I'd start singing a fifth below it. She'd jump to a fifth below it, and then the worship leader would stop us and tell us it was too heavy and tell ME to find a different harmony, or not sing and just fill in or something, which for the next take I would do and she would jump to it AGAIN.
She even did it during the service on a song that the leader had explicitly defined parts for, taking my part. The whole thing just made me remember all of the reasons why I had quit singing on worship team a few months ago in the first place, and it really sucked. I ended up just not singing on two songs because I got so irritated, and when I did sing, I was so frustrated and doubtful of myself that I just sucked. After all, what if I was just imagining it and it was ME who couldn't stick to a harmony? But upon further analysis later last night, it wasn't. So now I'm thinking about this, and I'm thinking "and they want her to be a worship leader?" And the worst part is that she's a great girl, has a charming personality, has an absolutely amazing voice, is a great keyboard player, is eager to please people, and is willing to put time and energy into practicing, but I don't really think that that will be enough for her to be able to lead a team. I don't want to tell the leaders that though because she's so nice; it'd be really heart-breaking to have to tell her something like that. It'll be sad if the leaders ever do figure that out. Maybe something will happen and she'll suddenly be able to do that. Or maybe, when she's a worship leader, she'll be able to sing melody (which she can hold just fine) and will have a set of totally talented backup singers that will be able to cut harmony themselves and she won't have to lead them.
I was thinking about Christ during communion and the sermon. I actually didn't listen to much of the sermon at all. I was on the worship team, so we all took communion together before the service because we'd be onstage during the service, and that's when I started thinking. I was instead thinking about Jesus being our sacrifice. Having just seen RotK probably had a lot to do with my thinking. Jesus is like the perfect king, who so loves his subjects, he fights right alongside them, and even takes blows for them. The appreciation of communion as Jesus' body and blood doesn't make a lot of sense to me from the standpoint of looking up at him on the cross, me on the ground. Instead, it makes more sense if I walk around behind the cross, with Jesus as the shield wall, in front of me, and us advancing through enemy territory. He's not there in front of me because I deserve for him to be, or even because I'm smart enough to want him to be. He's there on the battlefield with me because he wants to be. And that's the part that just blows my mind.
Oh well. Too many thoughts. Not enough sleep. Work to do.
**I've actually left worship team practice before, but for a different reason. That had to do with my own struggling with being helpful and submitting and the like. I used to have nothing to do with worship team. My favorite thing in the world to do though is to sing, and I suppose I'm pretty good at it. So I was asked to come a few times and sing at worship team. Then they found out I knew how to play piano, and asked if I could play piano and sing. Then, a little later, they started putting these people on worship team that can carry a melody I suppose, but are not great singers. And then they had all these singers on worship team and asked if I would just play piano so they didn't have so many singers. Now, I've been in the church when these people have sung, and they don't sing out at all, and you can't hear them, and the techs (probably on orders) don't turn their mics up much in the house and just turn their monitors up really loud. So then it's just the worship leader singing. So I got a little upset, and I let people know that I don't like playing keys enough to just do it, and so they put me on the schedule as doing both, and then on repeated Sundays via telephone or in person after I got to practice either asked me if I could just switch out and not play at all or if I could just play keys. One week I just got so mad about being asked to just play keys or maybe it was djembe, I really don't remember, (when there were even more bad singers than usual set up to sing) that I just gave up and realized my heart wasn't in worship anyway, and I didn't have any business being on stage, so I just quit, and told the worship leader that I was having some heart and motive troubles on worship team, and I didn't want to be scheduled for a while. I've since gotten over it, or so I thought, but my thoughts that I am not willing to stand up there and just raise my hands and look like a fool because I'm standing in front of a mic but I'm not singing because the other backup singer is hard to sing with have actually made me rethink my thoughts on that. Thank goodness for ALPHA being on Sunday nights again in the spring, so I'll have an excuse to not sing on worship team for another three month stretch and maybe get over this (or perhaps in which time maybe the girl will become a worship leader and one of those amazing positive outcomes I listed above will happen).