Monday, June 22, 2015

The Journey, Part VI (6) - Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

The next morning, we all headed to church. In our church, we have on Sunday each month that is set aside as "Fast and Testimony Meeting". Instead of the Bishopric choosing the speakers and topic to be taught during our Sacrament meeting (much like communion), the members of the congregation fast for two meals, and the meeting is left open to anyone who would like to stand and bear their own, personal testimony of the principles of the Gospel, and to bear personal witness of their relationship with Christ. The meeting is open to everyone, even small children.

My niece, "J", hopped up and offered a beautiful testimony on her feelings. I honestly don't remember what she said, but I remember the feeling that I had while she was speaking. I really appreciated what she had to say... until she got to the end... it seemed like she was done speaking, but for some reason, instead of ending, she spoke back up and said,

"...and, I'm so happy for my aunt because she is going to have a baby soon."

And I felt the floor drop out from under me. 

I began to see everything in a shade of pink, and I'm sure that anyone looking at me might have been concerned about the crimson red shade that must have suddenly replaced my usually peachy complexion. I suddenly found the very simple act of breathing was becoming something that I had to consciously tell myself to do, and I became aware that my body was doing some type of crazy convulsion, which, I'm sure, was it's way of saying, "Keep it together girl" as I was fighting off this other natural instinct to either run away and hide, or stand up and tear apart everything around me. I think it's referred to as 'the fight or flight response'. I also became increasingly aware that my emotions were very confused as well, and, to this day, I am still not sure whether what happened on the church bench that day was me sobbing inconsolably or laughing hysterically, but I knew that whatever was happening was completely out of my control, so I sat helplessly as tears streamed down my cheeks and soft broken sputtering sounds escaped from my clenched lips.

AND, not to mention the fact that, were there not already enough attention drawn to me at this point, a dear elderly sister of the congregation whom I have known for years was next in line after, J, and she walked up to the pulpit and said, "Well, looks like the cat's out of the bag whether it was intended to be or not!" While she demonstrated a very impressive wink and point at me, before proceeding into her own testimony. I'm just glad we were sitting fairly close to the front, so there were very few opportunities for me to steal a glance from those who had actually turned around in their seats to crack a huge grin, or a thumbs up and my husband and me.

Still, it didn't help from the searing I felt as I knew that there were people sitting behind me watching my weird convulsion episode taking place.

I have no idea what was going on in Andrew's mind. All I remember is him burying his face into his hands and practicing what looked like the commonly recognized coping mechanism for someone going into shock, or hyper-ventilation... You know, where you bend over as far as you can and breath between your knees... Yup... I'm pretty sure that's what he was doing, but I can't be positive... it was all a blur. 

Luckily, the meeting got a move on and proceeded quite well. We had the chance to recoup, and then, it ended... and we had to deal with all the "congrats" and questions, and jeers from those who actually had the courage to approach us after the meeting. 

Sometime shortly after we calmed down a bit, it occurred to me that Andrew's sister is expecting, and is due a month before we are. I instantly passed news down the bench that if anyone were to ask, the family would respond that it was Sarah whom "J" was so excited for, and not me... maybe we could hold this out a little longer.

This just happened to confuse a bunch of people and I don't think that most of them believed us anyway. 

I guess that's what comes with the territory of living in a tight-knit community. It seems like everyone knows what you're doing before you even really know what you're doing. We always joked in high school that if we were going to do something we shouldn't, our parents would find out before we even made it home. News just kinda seems to travel like wildfire, but no wonder when people are making announcements like that in public meetings!

Looking back, now, it's something we laugh about. I'm sure that there really wasn't even that much attention drawn to us. Most people are only half-awake through meetings like that, anyway, aren't they? I'll always have something to smile about in the future when I think about that story, but I'm also glad for the lesson I learned on just how careful I need to be with the information I feed to my little ones. Out of the mouths of babes, right?