Tuesday, April 21, 2015

BLOGGING A2Z CHALLENGE: LETTER R

READING RELIGION OR NOT

In my church there are many ways to be 'servants' to our Lord. To name a few: Ushers, Eucharist Ministers and Readers (there is a more proper term for this but this is easier).

The Readers read the scriptures of the Bible. I LOVE to read. I have thought of being a reader for a while. How hard can it be, right? You walk up and read the tagged Scriptures.

However, I've had two fears.

1) No one will be able to understand me. I feel like I can speak just fine. My family and friends can understand me! But then I reason, I can't understand the readers they have sometimes. I just follow in the book.

2) The steps to the altar could be an obstacle. I already have coordination problems with my two feet on flat ground. Steps are okay if there is a rail. Yes, on almost a daily basis, I flail my arms in the air to keep my balance but I get by. I don't fall often.

I discussed it with Hubby so many times. Of course, he said I can only try.

Lo and behold the church we've been going to had Reader training information in the bulletins for three weeks. I kept going back and forth with Hubby and God if I should try this. MyHubby decided he would go check it out and suggested just to go and see what it is about. I agreed. It is the only way I'll know. It'll be my answer.

I knew there was more than just walking up and reading but I figured I could do whatever it takes.

As Father spoke he pointed to the ramp on the side to the altar for those who have "bad knees" and unable to walk up the step. My fear of the steps faded. One challenge down, one more to go!

He pointed out that our voice had to be projected but not shouting. He said we had to be loud enough and clear for everyone to hear which goes without saying, I guess. There were other instructions (a whole page) of dos and don'ts that are irrelevant for this post and are not an issue for me.

He told eight of us to go to the altar with our handout and the others went to the back of the church. The ones who were on the altar had to read a passage on the handout without a mic. The ones in the back had to give 'constructive feedback."

After the first eight read and received their criticism which for the most part was not bad, it was my turn to go to the altar. I walked down the aisle with the others and when I got to the step, I was able to climb it. Clumsily, but my normal clumsily. Besides there's the other alternative, the ramp. YAY! 

The criticisms of the others were the same as the first group.  But they were able to correct it the second time. When Hubby read his, they criticized that he read too fast. He talks fast so that was no surprise. He just needs to practice reading slower. Everyone could hear his booming voice!

Then it was my turn.

I was nervous.

I read it. In my ears it was clear to me.

A few people gently said it was difficult to understand me. But then there was this one old fellow who abruptly yelled out, " I did not understand one word she said!"  I thought okay he could have said it in a better tone. It was like he was exasperated. No one was criticized like I was. I figured I would get some of it but not that rudely.

Father asked me to go to the mic and redo it. It was embarrassing. Here we go again. Let's single out the disabled girl. Honestly, I don't think Father didn't mean it that way. He was just trying to help. So I went to the mic and reread it. That grumpy old man said the same thing TWICE. I think I heard it the first mister!

Throughout the exercise, the couple who makes the schedule  and obviously has been a Reader for a long time said that they do get feedback from the congregation and if they get negative feedback regularly they don't put you on the schedule.  If no one can understand you, its no use being a reader because you have to be understood as some don't use the book so they are relying on hearing you. Father echoed the same. I thought that is their problem if they don't use the book.

Our church preaches that we should be active in the church community and serve God. But then they turn around and say you can't read God's Scripture because of someone elses opinion?  Our faith wonders why so many leave it.  

As I write this, I'm thinking we're all God's children. He loves us all. He wants us to be his servants. So who are they to say that those who want to cannot read in God's house because of a speech defect or any other reason? I wouldn't doubt if someone just didn't like you, they would not put you on the list to read.

Father said that we could go to the church and practice. But after it was over I went scratch my name off the list. I can practice all I want but it is not going to change my speech.

I usually don't give up or let anyone tell me what I can or can't do. But I feel this is totally out of my control.

I'm not going to lie. It hurts. I can't get it out of my head. Memories of kids teasing me and shunning me as a child came back.

I knew this very thing could happen. But I thought others would be more understanding, compassionate and have more patience than this. No, they had not shunned me yet but I just have the gut feeling I won't have a chance. I'd spend all my time and energy practicing and getting over anxiety just to be unfairly judged and deleted from the list. 

Is there something wrong with this or is it just me?

As the day goes by it still hurts but it is starting to turn into anger.

I talked to BabyGirl about it and she reminded me that people have to get used to my talking. Some of her friends would tell her they didn't understand me until they got to know me and hear me more. She suggested I do it and show them.

However, I am done with it.  All my life I have been judged by the way I walk and talk. I know everyone has been judged by someone at some point in their life. But I refuse to be judged in this environment.

Maybe I am WRONG in feeling that way. But it is the way I feel.

The whole scenario bugs the heck out of me. I know I won't be a Reader. But I need it to be known how I felt for when the next person comes along with similar issues, the Priest will take it into consideration and handle it better. I'm still on the thinking phase of how I am going to go about it.

Have you ever felt let down by people of your own faith who should have supported you? What are your thoughts about this whole process?

4 comments:

  1. Absolutely tell the priest and others how you feel. They need that feedback because maybe they hadn't thought it through. This is a bold statement, but I would find a different church if they couldn't accept you being a reader every once in a while especially if there is written things to follow along with. You would be totally accepted where I attend. However, I suspect you are Catholic and I realize changing churches is not as easy as it sounds. But most of all, don't let them get to you. If they can't accept you, it's their problem, not yours, Just consider that they still have some growing to do in this area.

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  2. I will tell the Priest. We've changed churches already. We'll have to travel further than we want. You are very intuitive. We're in an area where people are older and they want change but they want it on their terms. That was another argument I was thinking about, I would be a reader every few months I would think. It's sad (for them) that they can't deal with it. I agree it is their problem but it just irks me. Thank you so much for listening and commenting. It means a lot. Big Hugs.

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  3. Perhaps you have a different calling? Not being a reader doesn't mean you can't serve, it just means you can serve differently. I'm not in your shoes, but if I could offer a situation for you to consider. I can't read music and so singing in a choir is a bad idea, but that doesn't mean I can't do something else. I don't think you were judged because of your disability, I think you being a reader isn't about fulfilling your wishes, it's about the needs of the whole group. My daughter sings beautifully, has a huge range and sings in the choir, sings at weddings, sings at funerals...didn't get the skill-gift-talent from em obviously. But, as a church cantor it would be pointless for me to do that and the whole congregation not get the message, but me fill fulfilled for doing it. I am sorry for your pain, sometimes the path he wants us to go is not where we think we're suppose to go. When one door closes, look and find the window that's been opened for you. I'm sad that you felt the need to change churches and hope you consider visiting that church again. You might feel totally different and it may help you from feeling so hurt. My best to you.

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    1. Sandy, thank you so much for that! Actually, Hubby said something similar to what you said. OH no, I didn't change the church. I really like this church. It was the previous church I had moved from for many reasons. You and hubby are right and although there's a ting of irritation, I am pretty much over it.

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