A couple Sundays ago was the grand opening of the new home for our church. It was a surreal morning with chatter and excitement in the air. As far as I could tell, everything was going perfectly smoothly…
Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying that this is a very embarrassing story about myself and I find it hard to believe I’m sharing it so openly. But I feel it’s important to be as open and honest as possible and there’s a lesson to be learned here. And the only person I’m sacrificing in writing this, is myself.
… So everything was going smoothly except for the one voice behind me that just wouldn’t shut up. It kept persisting and in turn, I couldn’t focus on the message. I could give or take the music but the message, the message is the number one reason I go to church. It’s my time carved out to hear something that connects me to a higher purpose, brings me closer to community and helps me dive a little deeper into myself.
But on this morning, it wasn’t my own inner voice trying to distract me (as it does daily), it was someone behind me muttering ever so quietly but just loud enough to keep pulling my focus away from the pulpit and into the row behind us. All I could think was, “how rude”!
“Many things are not as they seem: The worse things in life never are.”
I asked my husband if we could move up a few rows and with a slight hesitation (why would he hesitate? I mean, surely he was having trouble concentrating too?!), he said, “sure”. I whispered to his parents who were visiting from out of town that we were going to move up to where we could concentrate better. And we switched seats.
From that moment on, everything was fine. As far as I could tell anyway. The voice was silenced, I was able to concentrate on what was being said and soak in the ambiance of the new environment.
After the service, the four of us went to brunch before their drive back home. And somehow the talking man behind us came up in conversation.
I couldn’t have been more wrong about the entire situation.
This man who I’d thought was being disrespectful and thoughtless. Well, it turns out he’s handicap. And apparently, everyone else realized it… except me. And when we switched rows, he left the auditorium entirely.
“The girl who laughs and talks a lot and seems very happy, is also the girl who may cry herself to sleep”
It turns out that my husband’s hesitation had nothing to do with not wanting to disturb people by switching seats and had nothing to do with being oblivious to the sounds behind us. He simply felt bad because as he said, “surely, there should be a place for them here too?”
I was completely clueless and when I realized my mistake, I felt awful, to say the least. The reason I bring this up is not to express what a horrible human being I may have appeared in that moment, but to point out…
How often in life are things not what they seem?
Whether it’s something we experience, like my example of the man talking behind us, or whether it’s something internal i.e. we think we’re someone who come to find out, we’re not that person after all.
Since that day, I’ve had a few groundbreaking moments where I’ve realized things I’ve always thought of as hard and solid facts about myself, simply aren’t true. I’ve been living so much of my life based on these false beliefs and fooling myself into thinking I’m someone, when really so much of it has been my ego and “false self” all along.