Today was not a good day.
It’s not often I wake up completely terrified to go to church, but today it happened. A couple of seemingly innocuous events explain why I woke up so, but I’m not going to bore you with those details. Usually when I wake up in a comparable funk, I power through it and do whatever is required. But today, the thought of that filled me with dread. And then, this thought:
What would happen if I didn’t go to church?
That was followed by this question:
And what would happen if I didn’t even tell anyone I wasn’t going to be there?
By the time I had this mental conversation, most of the people in my ward would have already left for church. I don’t have any cell numbers, so short of calling the actual church building–and Vegas odds are 50-1 that no one will answer–I had no way to tell anyone I wouldn’t be there.
It might not seem like a big deal to just not show up, except for two critical pieces of information. First, I just. don’t. do. that. Ask people who know me well, and I’m pretty sure “dependable” is near the top of the list. And second, I am the pianist for the children’s services.
So I set out for a Sunday drive and listened to a TED talk by Neil Pasricha, author of the blog “1000 Awesome Things.”
Listening to this talk, I was reminded again of perspective. Perspective is everything. Life is good. I can find things to be marveled by every day. But today? Today I needed to grieve a little, to be sad, so I could lift up my head, look around, and notice the sun was warming my skin and my niece let me snuggle her. (She’s squirmy. Not one for sitting on a lap for too long.)
Toward the end of my escape from church, I found myself headed to the Mormon Trail Center, where LDS sculptor Angela Johnson’s work is currently on display: “The Healing Power of Christ.” I had to laugh at myself a bit–on a day that I played hooky from church, I wound up at an LDS Visitor’s Center–but what I felt there leads me to believe it was no coincidence I went there. It was what I needed, more than being at church.
Conventional people would say that’s impossible–going to church is sometimes about being obedient and blessings come from obedience. That’s a particularly Old Testament approach, and most of the time, I agree with it. But I woke up this morning needing something that I knew I wasn’t going to get from church. God found a way to make sure I got what I needed.
I feel a little tinge of guilt that I didn’t go to church today, but not much, as my absence hasn’t worried anyone enough to call and make sure I’m okay. But if anyone does ask, when I woke up this morning, I wasn’t well.
Now, I’m better.