Monday, March 16, 2009

A little too much empathy

I cried in church yesterday. I was sitting in the pew, gripping my husband's arm hard enough to leave fingernail marks through his sweater, eyes shut tight, with tears streaming down my face. I could hardly breathe. If I took a breath, I knew I would completely lose control and start bawling. I was trying to be quiet. (Have you ever cried really hard, without making a sound? NOT easy).

The sermon was on compassion. As he usually does, the pastor was using a true story to illustrate a point. The story involved a 12 month old baby and the extensive abuse it had suffered. I don't know why it hit me so hard, but it did. As he was telling the story, I wanted to put my fingers in my ears so I didn't have to hear it (but I didn't feel I should do that) then I wanted to get up and run outside (but I didn't feel I should that either). So I stayed in the pew, heard the whole story, and tried to keep from disrupting the service. (At the end of the story was the point, which was that the baby calmed down and actually smiled when a loving caretaker held it and comforted it, you know, showed compassion. I'm sorry to use "it", I don't remember if it was a boy or a girl.)

During offertory (which is before the sermon), we had watched a video called "Cardboard Testimonies". That had made me cry too (but I was able to control myself). I don't know why I was so emotional yesterday! I'm not usually so affected.

I know the pastor saw me. How could he not? There aren't more than 50 people in the pews on Sunday morning, so I couldn't "hide". I thought for sure he was going to say something to me after the sermon, but he didn't. Perhaps he was embarrassed. I wouldn't feel too good if I told a story that made someone react like that. Maybe he thought it was unrelated.

I was able to compose myself during the rest of the sermon, and when it was time to be back on stage (I'm part of the worship team), no one could tell I'd been crying.

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1 comment:

ehart said...

I haven't cried that hard but I've cried at things in sermons before. It could be that the little one was so close in age to Little Bug or it could be something that just affects you that way from time to time. Or you could be pregnant, I suppose. The hardest I ever cried at a funeral was when I was pregnant. It had to have been the hormones. I was fond of the deceased but not THAT attached.