Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday morning

A typical Sunday worship service is full of grief triggers.

Cooper, Katie and I sit in the same sanctuary we used to share with Steve. It’s been our church home since 2000, before Cooper and Katie. It’s where both children were baptized and where both children sang in preschool performances and where Steve and I held hands during prayers on countless Sundays and took Communion together.

And it’s where Steve sang tenor in the choir and occasionally played trumpet.

Even now, more than 15 months after his death, I have to remind myself every single Sunday morning to not write “Steve, Tyra, Cooper & Katie Damm” in the registration book.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been able to get through a service – specifically anthems – without crying as often. There’s nothing wrong with crying, of course – it’s just not my automatic response as often.

Today was different.

The moment I looked up at the choir loft, where Steve should be sitting, I saw Bruce, Steve’s fellow tenor, fellow trumpeteer, fellow humorist.

At that moment, I felt Steve’s presence. Steve was there – not just in our hearts but actually there in some spiritual sense that's difficult to explain but nevertheless genuine.

I couldn’t shake the feeling, and I couldn’t help but weep.

When it was time to greet one another, I broke my usual routine and walked to the choir loft – something I haven’t done since Steve stopped singing in December 2007 – and sat next to Bruce.

I gave him a hug and told him that I felt Steve was right there.

Bruce opened his music folder. In the front pocket was the order of worship from Steve’s memorial service, with that handsome photo of Steve staring right at me.

Steve on the day of Katie's baptism, September 2005

Bruce explained that he likes to keep the photo in his folder but that he had misplaced it for a couple of weeks. He’d just rediscovered it this morning. Steve was right there.

I have big ideas about what angel Steve is doing in heaven, and I’m certain I assign him much more power than he actually has. I picture him spending time on important causes – hunger, diseases, peace – while also providing guardian angel protection to folks in need and his family and telling jokes and making himself and other angels laugh.

This morning, though, I think he took a break from that important work to be with his church family and us and to celebrate the fourth Sunday of Advent. (And what glorious music it was!)

Cooper and Katie after church today, sitting on Steve's bench

1 comment:

chapman.d said...

Thanks Tyra. You might be surprised how many choir members still have that bulletin I. Their folders. We also try to leave an empty chair in his honor.