Friday, January 16, 2015

Fish Bowl Living

I walked into the church building last Sunday all bundled up…it is really cold in January in Indiana…ready to teach my Bible study class and worship Jesus!  I was greeted at the door by the ‘designated’ greeter and another couple.  The lady said:

“Where have you been?”

Where have I been??  Well, I have been to Africa—but that was several years ago.  I have been to work—but that was a couple of days ago.  I actually have been to lots of places.  What was she referring to?  I just came from home….or my car.  Oh no!!  Did she see me run into the store and get the biggest Butterfinger candy bar that exists to woman and scarf it down as I drove??  Where have I been???  It was a loaded question…but I knew what she meant.  She had not seen me at church.

So…..I did some quick thinking and mental calculating….have I missed church?  Nope!  Been there!  Shew!!  Ah-ha….then it hits me!  I filled in for someone who could not work in the nursery because they were out of town so I have been doing child care more than my usual once-a-month time.

I smiled and said, “Oh, I have been here….perhaps I was in the nursery.”  And, because she has said things like this before, I went on.  “If you don’t see me, it doesn’t mean that I am not here.  I am here unless I am sick (as I say this to her I have no voice and am coughing and blowing my nose because I am sick...but at church) or out of town or work or speaking...” 

Her response?  “Well….whenever you are working in the nursery you need to first come in the sanctuary and walk down one aisle and parade (yes!  She actually said “parade”) across the front and up the other aisle so we can all see you!”

Gasp!  What did you just say?  You want me to “parade” in front of you so you can “see” me??

And…truthfully, I can’t remember if I actually said this….or was just thinking it….but I might have gone on to say to say something like, “I don’t stay home just for the sake of staying home (OK, well…maybe there has been a time or two that I stayed home because I wanted to).  I really am here!

Was she serious?  Was she kidding?  What was I to do with it?  Let it bother me?  NO!  Get all upset and frustrated and tell myself that I wish my husband did anything but pastor?  NO!  I let it roll off of my mind and heart like Rain-X allows water to roll off of my windshield.  I went on to my class as if nothing happened. 

And yet I ponder….is there some truth to what she said?  Do I need to make myself more “seen”?  My preference is to be more behind the scenes.  Is that wrong?

I remember something Diana said in her book, “Six Simple Steps:  Find Contentment and Joy as a Ministry Wife” about fish bowl living (have you gotten the book yet?  Have you read it?  This should be the last time I bug you about it!).  Yes, we sort of live fish bowl-type lives as people look for us to “parade” in front of them so they can “watch” us…but the truth of the matter is this:  the fish in the fish bowl pay no attention to those who stand around watching them!!!  They just keep doing their thing with their eyes on the food!!

So, ladies….let’s just keep doing our thing with our eyes on Jesus and not those who are peering into the fish bowl.


SJ said...

Thank you. Needed that as I have those who desire a parade every Sunday. And like you, if they don't see me, they never think about WHY I might not be there. I'm either on a missin trip, in the nursery, doing some private ministry to someone hurting right NOW, or really, really, really sick. You're right, the fish pay no attention. But I find myself doing the starfish cry from Nemo...."Find a happy place! Find a happy place! Find a happy place! Tomorrow, when I go to church where my husband serves as senior pastor, I'll try more to be a fish!

Vickie said...

Dana, I loved this blog! Isn't it interesting that our church family misses us for all the wrong reasons?
They never think that we might be sick or elsewhere in the church. They just don't see us and think we are skipping.
You were much more gracious that I would have been. As you know I often say things before thinking. My first response would have been "where were you the last time you missed church?"
Our congregations believe we live at the church. They, on the other hand, may come once or twice a month and then spend their Sundays at the lake or ballpark.
Thanks for sharing!

Tonya said...

Dana, I really enjoyed this. Well said, my sister! Yes, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus because what He thinks of us is what truly matters.