The Embarrassment Quota

One thing I love about our church is that no matter where in the world you go, no matter who you know or who you are, it’s always the same.  Warm and inviting people are always there to greet you.  People want to know where you are from and how you got there.  There is a light in their eyes that you want to be reflected out of your own as you leave.  Even the other day, as I was walking to the train station to go to Madrid, I saw some missionaries who weren’t serving in our ward and we ended up talking for a long time.  How great is it to be able to travel halfway across the world and still have so much to talk about with complete strangers?

I love going to church here in Spain.

I love leading music in Relief Society, participating in discussions in Sunday School, listening to people speak their testimonies during Sacrament Meeting.  I even love the little water cooler with all of the plastic cups that the little kids use over and over again because they seem to think they need a new one for every sip they take.

I have definitely fulfilled my embarrassment quota in this Spanish ward, and that is no exaggeration.  Let’s have a little recap, shall we?

Second Sunday in town:  Out Cold

I started feeling sick in Relief Society.  I turned to one of the girls and told them I was probably going to leave – they said we only had a few minutes left.  Without warning I bolted up and headed to the back door, but by the time I got there, I was already out.  Imagine having to finish bearing your testimony and summing up the lesson when some poor girl just made a dramatic exit by thudding out cold on the floor, followed by the bishopric and several other members who ran to see if she was alright.  That poor teacher.

Random Week:  Natural Beauty

A few weeks ago I was feeling lazy – or maybe I was just in a hurry (I can’t quite remember).  I must have just quickly put my hair up and brushed some mascara on or something.  Almost every other person I encountered came up to me and asked me one of the following questions:

Had I been crying?

Was I feeling sick?

Did I need to be getting more sleep?

Was there something wrong?

The answer, to all of these questions, was no, as a matter of a fact, I felt just fine.  But it was good to know they all appreciated my natural beauty.  Thank you.

Two weeks ago: Rewarded For Service?

They teach us to serve others, to jump to the call, to be prepared for anything, right?  Little did I know that when I agreed to play what I thought was prelude music to Sunday School that I would actually be humiliating myself with an on-the-spot piano solo.  When our teacher began the lesson before I could even sit down at the piano to play some nice soothing opening music, I thought I was off the hook.  Not so, good fellow, not so.  Rather, he called me up in the middle of the lesson, and proceeded to tell the class how I had volunteered to play a musical number (literally 20 minutes before, mind you).  His exact words went along the lines of “Okay, so, Rosa is going to play this hymn and I want you all to focus on the meaning, every single note, every single feeling…that’s right, just close your eyes and listen to her play.”  Um….  excuse me???  Let it be known that I had probably played this hymn two other times in my ENTIRE LIFE and was, needless to say, not prepared.  I struggled through.  It was demeaning.  If people felt the Spirit, it wasn’t through any contribution of mine.  A few people afterward came up and thanked me for playing.  There was an undeniable hint of pity in their eyes.  Dang it.

Today:  The Force Was Against Us

Our group of girls had been planning to sing during Sacrament Meeting for a few weeks.  We had only practiced a grand total of 10 times before this morning.  Unwise?  Perhaps.  Our first run-through of the morning sounded like a bunch of dying cows.  Some may argue with me, but I’ll hold true to my description.  I was slightly horrified.  We skipped out on the first part of Sunday School to run through it again.  It sounded better.  Much better, actually, but we needed to remember that we were in a small room and sound usually resonates well with limited space.  While we practiced, the first counselor of the bishopric came up to us and said we couldn’t sing because there was going to be a baby blessing.

Yeah.  No.

We had invited host parents and teachers, who were already there.  There was no way in heck we weren’t going to sing.  The poor man had obviously been familiarized with the wrath of women and knew not to push any further.  Yes, we could sing.  Relieved, we all sat through the last of Sunday School and then nervously began Sacrament Meeting.  All was well.  Until the bishop got up to announce the baby blessing and then someone realized that the sacrament hymn just happened to be the same one we were singing.  Disaster?  Yeah.  Apparently since I was sitting closest to the front (by a meager little row, thank you very much…) I was harassed into running up to the stands in attempts to beat the beginning of the blessing and explain to the chorister that she needed to change the song.  Maybe people thought I was rushing to help bless the baby too.  Who knows?  Apparently she understood my Spanish because in the end, the song was changed.  And I got to sit up on the stand until I made the walk of success and/or shame back to my seat.

And then we sang.  Was it our best performance?  Probably not.  But you could feel the spirit.  It’s hard not to when singing and listening to “How Great Thou Art.”

Despite my running track record of embarrassing myself in this ward, I know I will miss it.  We only have two more Sundays, and it all seems to be going by so quickly.  I love these people, and I love this church.  I love being able to go anywhere and feel at home, like I have a family even though I am thousands of miles away from my real one.  I even love the crowded noisy bus that we have to ride to get there.  I love it all.

I especially love looking forward to going back to Provo for winter semester.  Why?  I’ll let you guess.

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