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Don't Bug Me, I'm Worshiping!

by L. Osmon  
4/02/2018 / Humor

My mom was the kind of gal who expected everyone to meet her needs the moment they occurred to her. So it should not have surprised me when those same expectations accompanied us to church that Sunday morning. By the time she had rattled off her list of complaints during our twelve minute commute and conducted an involved expedition for the best seat in the sanctuary, I was exhausted. However, it was when she demanded her purse be hung on her walker “the right way” for the tenth time that I seriously considered taking up smoking, right there in the pew. Instead, I stepped out into the foyer to collect myself and to avoid singing songs like, "Lord, I Will Do Whatever You Ask” or "Thank You Jesus For The Trials You Bring My Way".     
A few minutes later, I returned to my seat in a better frame of mind and observed Mom as she tried to sing along with the congregation. As long as I could remember she had battled with anxiety and anger. She needed a spiritual breakthrough and I hoped today was the day she would experience it. I said a quick prayer under my breath then stood to join the chorus of voices surrounding me.   
It wasn't long until I felt a light “tap-tap” on my left hip. I chose to ignore it and sang a bit louder.
"Don’t bug me, I’m worshiping!" almost came spilling out of my mouth. I needed to worship. I needed my sanity. I raised my arms and started swaying to the music. The song seemed appropriate, "Jesus, I’m Keeping My Eyes on YOU".     
“Lord, I’m going to lose it!”, could almost be heard as a hum between my vice-grippped lips. All good on the outside, volcano ready to blow on the inside.
“WHAAAT?!!” I conveyed, looking at her with my best nonverbal dragon face.
In the sweetest, calmest voice I had ever heard my mother use she said, “Honey, you have a toilet seat cover hanging out of the back of your pants. I’ve been trying to get it, but you keep moving around."
Did I mention we were in the third row from the front? I can't imagine who all were rooting for her as she tried over and over again to grab the paper out of my backside. The expression, “Can I have a witness?” has a whole new meaning now. I quickly sat down and removed my uninvited accessory. For the rest of the service mom kept her eyes forward, while I plotted how to open the emergency door without setting off the alarm.    
The following week, there was another kind of interruption. It had been a difficult morning and once again I had arrived emotionally exhausted. Thankfully, finding the right seat had gone smoother this time. As the music started I stood with the congregation and closed my eyes. I was having a hard time concentrating.
Tap. Tap.
Oh no you don’t!, I thought to myself and scooted over a bit.
Tap, tap.
I ignored it and began to pray. Lord, I am so hurt. She needs to apologize! Tears were starting to well up. It felt like the music was carrying me.
Tap. Tap. 
"Don’t bug me I’M WORSHIPING JESUS!" I almost shouted, but held my tongue not wanting to make another scene. Subconsciously, I touched the back of my pants – all good.
Tap! Tap!
“This really needs to stop!”, crept out of my mouth. I peered at the seat next to me, forgetting it was empty. Mom had blown up at me that morning and had decided not to come to church.  
Tap. Tap. “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." said a familiar voice.
“Oh! Jesus - it’s you!", I sat down, putting my head in my hands. “Sorry about that. I know she’s my mom, but I can only take so much. As soon as this service is over I’m going to give her a piece of my... uh, prayer.” I averted my eyes (which is a tricky thing to do with someone who is omni-present) and started singing again, maybe a bit too fast.
Tap. Tap. “You will be worshiping right next to her in heaven, so how about forgiving her now just as I have forgiven you? Oh, and by the way, you have something hanging out of your eye. Possibly a branch.”
I let out a sigh. Apparently, I wasn't dealing with "subtle Jesus". There was no doubt which Bible verse he was referring to; Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Wasn't I entitled to put her on the "To Be Forgiven Later" list? This is more her issue than mine. Is Jesus just going to let her off the hook? Then it occurred to me…
“You can hear me, can’t you?”, I said under my breath.
Only a patient silence could be detected. 
“I know. I hurt her too."
“I’ll be with you every step of the way,” was the response.
I started to feel uncomfortable and peaceful all at the same time. Maybe I was the one who needed that spiritual breakthrough. As the music swelled again I gave thanks for interruptions, did a quick wardrobe check and made a mental note to call my mom. Then I stood up and joined in the last stanza singing, "...All to Jesus, precious Savior, I surrender all."

L. Osmon Copyright 2019

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