Monday, December 12, 2016

Sing We Joyous All Together

Yesterday was our church's annual Christmas caroling.  It's not like the caroling of my youth, where we went to church members' houses in the evening--some years, we parked in the neighborhood and walked from house to house.  Some years, did we drive from house to house?

Yesterday we drove from place to place--for part of the afternoon, in driving rain.  It was no Currier and Ives scene.

One of our stops was at a rehab center in Aventura.  I use the term rehab usely--most of those residents have no hope for rehabilitation.

This past summer, the center called to ask if we'd do some sort of service, as they hadn't had anything like it for almost a year.  A group has been going once a month, but I've never been able to go.  So yesterday was also the day we did the service.

I was expecting a more chapel-like atmosphere, even though I wasn't surprised to find that they had no chapel--maybe it's only nursing homes in the U.S. South that do that.  So the rec room atmosphere didn't surprise me, but the TVs did.  Clearly, some of the residents had been parked there.  And some weren't happy that we were there singing.

We persevered, and at the end, the few residents who remained clapped.  Then we were off to the next stop.

At the end of the day, I reflected how our caroling is so different from how I envision it--for one thing, we were competing with the Dolphins game at most stops.  I asked my spouse, "Do you really think we brought joy to anyone?  Or did we just interfere with their watching of the game?"

It's hard to know.  Do the carolers bring each other joy?  Yes, in a way, although it leaves me exhausted in a way that many other church activities don't.  I have to confront my fear of mortality and bodily betrayals with every stop, since we're going to those who are shut in, often at rehab centers or hospitals.

But I will go--it's good for me to face my fears, for one thing.  It's good to go out with church members, most of whom I'd like to know better.  And if there's any chance that it brings joy to those we visit, then it's worth it.

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