Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Alexa! Lower the music volume (at church)

40 Reflections: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

No. 6

Growing up we spent a lot of time at St. Anne’s Church. Sunday mass, Saturday confessions, “whether we needed it or not”. Thursday Catechism Class with Sister Marcella who answered my 10-year-old burning question:

“Will we know each other in heaven?” FYI: she assured me we would.

Some Saturday mornings mom and I (or one of my three sisters) would head out to church and accompany mom up the long stairway to the choir loft. Mom would lay out her music, folding the top right corners of the pages and warm-up for whatever celebration was occurring. We were the designated page-turners. Standing to her right, we waited for her head to nod, our cue to turn the page. As she pumped the pedals and filled the cavernous church with “How Great Thou Art” or Captain and Tenille’s “The Wedding Song”, we would peer over the loft ledge and witness either the beginning of a loving partnership or the celebration of a life to be missed. On Sunday, we would climb the stairs once again for the 9:00 am mass.

All that being said, mom was basically in charge of the music at church. She knows the practice it takes and appreciates good musicians. So when one of my sisters texted the sister group chat saying,

“OPINION POLL: Mom covers her ears during music at mass. Today Father gave her earplugs, during mass! As a gift.”

My sister thought of it as a gift as much as coal is to a child on Christmas morning.

Clearly upset, she continued, “Yes, I’m texting during mass. So I have a problem.”

Our suggestions:
Roll your eyes
Tell him she’ll bring earmuffs next time
Let her cover
Don’t let her sit at the end of the pew to be less obvious

Finally, my oldest sister asked, “How did mom and dad take it?”
“Mom and dad both took it like he’s being funny, so they’re fine!
Me? I’m going to need to go to mass again!” 🙄

When I talked to mom later that day, she told me of her bright orange earplugs now stowed in her fanny pack for church. “The music is just so loud and they play the keys in between the actual notes that are supposed to be played. So now I’ll have to remember my mask, earplugs, and glasses for mass.”

Being with my parents I notice some moments are happy and calm like watching the hummingbirds on the suet or relaxing by the fire “talking about whoever isn’t there” as my dad says. Other days, every step hurts, memories fail, and they wonder why we live too far away. No matter the day, they’ve walked through the years, good and bad together, so if during Saturday mass mom wants to cover her ears or dance in the aisles at mass, so be it.

After all, you can’t ask Alexa to lower the volume or change the music at mass, although if mom could she’d probably request “How Great though Art” from the 80’s with her playing the piano.

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