One of the privileges of being a church music director is getting to sing at funerals. Singing at funerals is quite different than singing at weddings. At weddings, most everyone is already happy, and it is fairly easy to please people that are giddy and full of hope.
Most people at funerals are not happy at all. They are there to say goodbye to someone that mattered to them, to find closure. Your job as a soloist is bigger than "singing pretty." You are there to comfort, ease pain, facilitate a transition. It is a big job. And not at all easy for empath.
So I consider it a privilege to be entrusted with this job. I am blessed to be able to do it several times a year. Today was one of those days. I pray that I was as much a blessing to them as they were to me.
Like I said, I go to a lot of funerals. Some are inside, some are outside. The outside ones are always an adventure.
One such adventure comes to mind. I arrived at the cemetery in the nick of time, having just driven through a torrential downpour. It was chilly and muddy and windy. As I was standing there, feeling the heels of my pumps sink into the soft earth, I noticed several little beetles scurrying around on the ground. One was heading in my direction, so I stepped off a little ways to my right to get out of its path. I secretly wished I were one of the family members seated on the outdoor carpet. There were no beetles over there that I could see.
I must inject here that I am a bug-a-phobe. Big time. It is irrational and real. Ask me sometime about the Concert in the Gardens...
Anyway, I was listening intently to the minister when all of the sudden I felt a tickle on the back on my right leg. When I reached around and placed my hand on my right "cheek", I felt a hard little lump moving under my pants. I bit my tongue to stifle the scream that was rising in my throat, jiggled the pant leg, and wiggled my booty a bit in hopes it would fall back down.
A few minutes later I felt a tickle below my right should blade. The little bugger was heading toward my neck - which meant it could potentially crawl into my hair. A horror scene flashed through my mind, complete with screaming and hopping and thrashing about. It wasn't pretty in my head, and it would have been even uglier in real life.
Now, I am the consummate Southern lady. To make a scene at a graveside service would be nothing short of scandalous. So... I grabbed hold of the thing through my suit jacket and pinched it as hard as I could. I felt it crunch, which made me want to puke. I must have killed it, because I didn't find it anywhere later on. Amazingly, no one around me had any clue that I averted a catastrophe.
It's the stuff of nightmares, I tell you.