Sunday, January 9, 2011

It's the Little Things

Sunday mornings usually mean church for the Major and me.  I get up early and head in for choir rehearsal and meet up with him after church.  Though he's not a fan of sitting through services by himself, as I sit with the choir, he does so gladly because he knows that I love my choir.  That I delight in my choir.  But, in every other church choir I've sung in, the choir performed every other week, giving you an opportunity to sit with your family at least half the time.  Not so with our current church.  The choir is an integral part of the worship service, in a way that I've not experienced before.  I love the enthusiasm with which this particular church embraces its music ministry.  The only downside is that I miss worshiping with my husband.  But I take a great deal of comfort from seeing him in the congregation.  My heart lifts when we enter the church during the processional and I see him sitting in his favorite pew. 

I know this reaction has a lot to do with when I first started attending this church.  It was the fall of 2006 and the Major was in Iraq, serving his second tour in the middle east.  We had just moved to our new town and purchased our first home that summer.  We were still settling into the house and doing cosmetic renovations when he left.  It took me a while to adjust to being in a new town, in a new home, on my own.  I had great neighbors, though, who welcomed and supported me in those first months.  It was one of these neighbors who first invited me to attend church with her, telling me that I would love the music program and should consider joining the choir.  She was right, of course, and I did fall in love with both the church and the choir, and quickly found myself committing to choir rehearsals and Sunday services.

For the next year, I attended the church, by myself, every week.  I soon made friends and became involved in community missions projects.  I did a stint in the handbell choir (at which I suck), and helped with the children's choir.  My church activities helped to fill the time during my husband's absence.  I will be forever grateful for the support and encouragement I received there over the course of that year.  But every week as I attended services, even as his name was read during our morning prayers, I felt the Major's absence more keenly than I can say.  I longed for the day when he would be there with me, and of course, eventually he was.

On mornings like this morning, when I look out in the congregation and realize that he's not there, that he's decided to skip church, I'm reminded of those long months.  I'm reminded and yet feel the anticipation of his upcoming deployment, his third.  Of the Sunday mornings to come when I'll get up early and head out the door, knowing that he won't be joining me at coffee hour.  When his name will again be placed on the list of deployed soldiers who we pray for weekly.  And I stop myself for a moment to appreciate that when I walk through the door of our home this afternoon, he'll be there waiting for me.  Today my husband is home.  He's safe.  Such a seemingly small thing, but such an enormous blessing.

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