Showing posts with label reverence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reverence. Show all posts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Celebrating with Funerals

There was a funeral in the ward today – a man I didn’t actually know.  But Roland was presiding and asked me to be there.  The funeral did not start until 12:00 and yet I had been asked to be there at 11:00.  I still don’t know why.

So while I was there I started reminiscing over some other funerals I have attended during my lifetime. I have attended well over 40 funerals (perhaps more than 50) during my lifetime.  I don’t say that to boast – it’s just always been part of my existence.  As a result, I have always been surprised by the ignorance of others who find themselves in a situation of having to make funeral arrangements and not having a clue as how to go about it.

Death takes place all the time.  It happens all around us – I suppose for some more than others.  And each culture/religion views death differently and there are just as many funeral ceremonies as there are ways of dying.

For some cultures it is considered disrespectful for those attending to wear anything but white.  For others, black is the acceptable mournful color.  For the LDS member/funeral, the tradition is to dress in the same attire worn to Church on Sunday.

When Roland’s uncle (who’s not LDS) passed away, I had packed a black dress – though not a solid black dress.  It was gingham with large faded flowers – something I have worn to Church.  I don’t think his family was happy with what I had chosen to wear as his mother led me into her room and held out a couple of dark skirts and told me I could wear one of hers. 

Never mind that Roland’s mother is quite a bit shorter than I and any skirt that she had may have barely covered my bottom. It was 30 degrees warmer in Arizona than in Utah.  I was already hot in my “casual” summer dress.  I distinctly remember that one of the skirts was made out of wool – I’m allergic to wool.  As hot as I already was, I might as well just wear a trench coat and be just as uncomfortable.  And why would anybody own wool clothing while living in Arizona anyway?  I was the only adult wearing a dress.
For me, going to a funeral means you’re supporting your living friends whose loved one have passed on.  I normally don’t go to funerals if the only one that I know is the one in the casket.
I was once asked to drive my grandmother to a funeral that took place in another county.  I didn’t even know the deceased or any of his family – just my grandmother.  She didn’t really know the deceased all that well but had wanted to support the mother of the one who had passed. But at the funeral, I learned a bit about the deceased.  And after the funeral, I knew the deceased just as well as grandma did.

I have been to a handful of non-LDS funerals, but for the most part, the funerals that I have attended have been LDS conducted – usually in the chapel where we hold meetings on Sunday.  And I like LDS funerals.  For the most part, I think they pay excellent tribute to the one who is deceased.

The funerals I enjoy the most celebrate life.  The speakers consist of friends and/or family (family members are best!) who relate stories about the deceased.

I had the opportunity to speak at my great grandmother’s funeral, my grandmothers, and my dad’s.  I really enjoyed my dads.

The program addressed "farewell services" rather than "funeral services" I talked about dad’s early life up until he married.  Patrick took over celebrating my dad’s life as a father and patriarch.  We played Corey’s voice reciting his poem (found here)  which he later set to music.  And Kayla sang Amy Grant/Gary Chapman’s “Father’s Eyes”. 

I remember attending another funeral for a former neighbor (only about four years older than I) and his four children spoke at his and put their dad on a pedestal and really honored his accomplishments.  It was great!

Besides the funeral itself, there is the Relief Society who will bring casserole dishes, baked potatoes, side dishes, rolls and desserts (so the family and friends of the deceased can eat after returning from the burial) I remember lots of sign up sheets being passed around in my last ward.  Seems there were always three funerals in less than three months.  It became overwhelming at times (I’m sure for the RS presidency especially) I remember doing baked potatoes and salads and one dessert.  Today I took Calico Beans

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Reverence? NOT our primary

I don’t know who suggested to the primary children to stand at the front (in Sacrament meeting) with their arms folded to set an example for those that were entering the chapel. I didn’t have a problem with it – except when Parker would try to outrun whatever other child was headed to the stand.  But as long as the children were on the stand with their arms folded, there really was a reverence there – though it seemed to vanish the minute they sat down.

A visiting high councilman had given the command to the bishopric that he didn’t want the children up there.  Maybe because he knew on a first hand account that some of those standing there ordinarily do NOT represent reverence – though the three in particular (the three most irreverent – actually there are four – which is just about half of the primary) come from very devout homes, it’s just that reverence has taken a back seat.  The more we try to enforce it, the stronger the misbehavior becomes. 

I say “we” as I am a parent of one of the instigators, though Jenna generally keeps her irreverent activities to herself. Examples: twisting her bracelet, moving her fingers, or sliding her hair band (as mentioned here) but has not misbehaved as poorly as the three boys.  Two of them brothers. And I don't mean to put down the entire primary as it is basically just those four.  But in our ward, that truly does account for just about half.

Now I don’t know that anyone from my ward even reads this post – but because of our really small primary and the descriptions I use, the children will be more easily to identify than I am.  But I will still change the names of all the children who are/were involved.

Yesterday Jenna and I attended a baptism for two of her friends – not good friends, but she has played with each of them and sometimes both together – though it hasn’t been often.  There names are Wesley and Jorge.

Wesley is an only child.  I can fully understand.  If my child had Wesley’s personality, I would not be trying for more children.  He reminds me of one who has had too much caffeine.  He climbs the walls (literally) and lands himself into all kinds of mischief.  He’s definitely not focused.  I don’t know what kind of grades he gets.  I know he goes to some kind of a therapist – or at least he used to.  He has improved a lot – or so I believed until yesterday.

Jorge and his mother are from Mongolia.  I often pick them up and give them rides to and from church.  We don’t communicate much except for, “Would you like a ride?” and “Thank you.” 

She likes to give him snacks and keeps him entertained with his iPad (or whatever it is) during sacrament – which I think is not right – but who am I to judge.  It does keep him quiet – so long as it’s just him focused on the screen.  But I remember one time both Jenna and Wesley stuck their faces just as close to the screen as Jorge’s – and I think Wesley actually took it over.

Okay.  So our ward was in charge of the stake baptism.  It is actually the first time I remember going to a stake baptism in which our ward was conducting. The program was nice.  And then came dismissal to the font.

So the first ward was dismissed and told to meet in the primary room.  Anna played the piano.  The music would have been nice if those attending would allowed themselves to just listen and to meditate – but the conversations started among the adults.  Some about the children being baptized, but most of the ones that I heard were irrelevant and surely could have waited for 45 minutes to an hour.

The next group goes.  I don’t know what room they announced to go into following the baptism – but I think they should have been allowed to return to the chapel as they accounted for more than half of everybody in the congregation.  (They would have been squished in the primary room)
Our ward was last.  We had two that were being baptized and ironically the smallest group left. 

So the primary children go towards the font and are banging on the glass (two boys in particular; Jenna was actually reverent – well as reverent as one in a dress can be while squatting down) At that point, I don’t know who was worse: Wesley or Hunter. 

Wesley should have gone through the door that leads to the font, but was too busy giving headlocks to the other boys who had come to watch.  I don’t know if it was before the baptism or after (I think it was after) that Hunter took his rolled programs (he had two of them) and started using them as drumsticks as he beat on the heads of those who sat ahead of him. And Parker started using his rolled up program as a sword.

I thought I heard some adult laughter which only encouraged the children.  I honestly did not see what Jenna was doing as the bad behavior of the two boys outshined whatever anything she has ever done.

Nick and Vickie were great.  I had no qualms with them whatsoever, especially Nick, who truly was being reverent.  Jorge’s behavior was about the same.  But I think it was right before the confirmation that Jorge’s mom came across an entire lute of treats in her bag (I wonder if it was the only thing in her bag) and called Jenna over and doused her with an arm full and so Jenna continues to pass the treats along and I look back behind me. Jenna (who had moved to the back row) and three boys are munching on these goodies (the crumb producing kind) during the program.  Are you kidding me?

But the treats did come from Jorge’s mom – one of the moms whose child had been baptized.  I don’t know how long she’s been a member of the Church or if she decided to move to the states after becoming a member or what.  She did it with love.  She had snacks for all the children. 

Hannah was in front of me with her son and didn’t want to appear rude by not taking it, but I’m guessing may have felt the same discomfort that I was feeling.  And yet there’s my husband, first counselor no less, that I don’t think would have had a problem with it (I know because he’s given Jenna messy treats in sacrament meeting!)

Actually, that “small talk” and visitation has become a popular thing between the baptism and the confirmation - especially this day as the waiting time between baptism and confirmation took longer than normal.  Jorge's mom didn't think to pack dry underwear and so someone was sent to the store to purchase a dry pair to wear for his confirmation.  

The conversations seemed to stir even louder.  I didn't want irreverant (and irrelevant) conversation at Jenna's baptism which is why I had asked Bill and Corey to sing at Jenna’s baptism found here so that the spirit would not be lost.  And it wasn’t.  At least not to my understanding. 

I had been in the dressing room with Jenna, but from what I understand, everyone in attendance listened.  They did not visit.  They did not distract from the Spirit – not even Hunter and Parker who sat on the front row.  And Parker, actually caught up in the Spirit, was trying to sing along with them.  That was awesome to watch.

I think every baptism ought to have an intermediate between the baptism and the confirmation – more than the background music on the piano (which it seems most people seem to tune out – at least in the baptisms that I’ve gone to) but something that will hold the attention of those in the audience – that the Spirit will continue to be present. Or else have the youth confirmed in sacrament meeting as it was done when I was in primary.

Our bishop said he felt the Spirit strongly.  I did too, when we were in the chapel.  I think the Spirit must have followed the bishop into the men’s dressing room and the font, for I did not feel the Spirit in the RS room AT ALL

And I realize that I’m just as much to blame for not having felt the Spirit’s presence (as it is up to me to invite Him in).  I really had tried to find the awesomeness, but the conversations around me seemed to be much louder than the Spirit (provided He was actually there) and I suppose my griping about it on this blog post isn’t going to help matters either.  Well, maybe not entirely.

 I can’t change the events of yesterday.  Perhaps one of my blog readers can change the outcome of baptism reverence to come.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Amazing Ever-Hair-Style-Changing Hair Band

        Many of us have sat through primary programs that have had participants who would never make it to poster child for illustrating reverence.  Sometimes we laugh at the misfortunes; some roll their eyes and come up with all the answers for how to discipline.  Some parents take it with a grain of salt.  Some are mortified and embarrassed. 

I don’t remember Jenna being so ill mannered in our last ward, but she was making faces during the program last year. This year she displayed her fidgety fingers as she bit her nails (while waiting in line at the pulpit) and fussed over her hair band and seemed to create a different hairstyle with each adjustment. 

The hair band fell off her head as they stood up to perform one of the songs.  She did sing, but frantically looked all around to see where it had gone.  Jenna’s among the tallest girl – if not the tallest – which made it more obvious.

Still not as bad as my brother’s ward – which had a HUGE primary when Kimball and Ellen were four and six.  I don’t know whose brilliant idea it was to put the six four year olds on table tops.  Kimball was quite reverent, but the two next to him were kicking one another and pulling hair (as I recall) elbowing, fist fighting.  

That was my view.  Those three four year olds sitting on the same side as I was.  Most everybody who was on my side saw those two four year olds fighting and missed most of the program.  I actually think that was more irreverent than Jenna’s amazing hair-style-changing head band.

Four more years and Jenna will be in young women’s. Perhaps by then she will learn to keep still.