In going though old journals, I came across something I’d copied from Anne Lamott’s Grace Eventually, and today seems like a perfect time to share it. She’s at a church service and reasons that “you have to be somewhere: better here, where I have heard truth spoken so often, than say, at the DMV, or home alone, orbiting my own mind. And it’s good to be out where others can see you, so you can’t be your ghastly spoiled self. It forces you to act slightly more elegantly, and this improves your thoughts, and thereby the world.”
People go to church for all kinds of reasons. Some go because of habit without even seriously considering why they continue to attend. They may even complain about the length of the service or the choir director’s funny hair, and yet week after week, they file in and find a pew. Some go because of social reasons; it’s a place to rub shoulders with other like-minded individuals, many of whom could be their family members or friends. Others go because they love the music or the minister or the message.
I go to learn and worship and to be edified and enlightened by the words I hear and the people I see. Today I heard three marvelous talks, one given by a 12-year-old young man and the other two by adults. All were inspirational and educational, and even now I’m thinking of the importance of heritage because of Sister Barrentine’s remarks. In Sunday school, the focus was on Job and his undying faith despite tremendous loss and great physical discomfort. One class member shared that at one time he had a boil that was so painful that he couldn’t sleep at night. How, we wondered, could Lot have stayed so strong despite being covered with the painful abscesses? In Relief Society, the lesson was on today’s church and its parallels to the church in the days of Christ. I LOVE Relief Society and my association with the women in that organization, but time prohibits me from getting fanatical about it this evening. I just have to say, however, that I bet no other women’s group has a Sister Cookie, a woman as sweet and perky as her name suggests.
Yes, it was a great way to spend three hours, and I can definitely attest to having loftier thoughts and a less selfish attitude as a consequence of today’s attendance. My “ghastly spoiled self” has taken a back seat…for a little while at least.