>> Friday, December 18, 2015
For 13 years, 3 times a year (Easter, Harvest and Christmas) I have been going to the local primary school to help with the church services. There are 3 services each day because the church is only big enough to house a third of the school at a time.
We walk a group of children (the 'performers') to church, get them ready to do their readings, costumes etc, I make juice up and break out the biscuits in the gap between the first 2 services and make hot drinks for the adults that stay at church the whole morning. After the second service we walk our group back to school. I go home and get some lunch, go back up to the school and go through the process another time.
The Christmas service is the hardest, we have the foundation stage nativity children, the readers from each year group, the choir, the orchestra and the soloists. They all need looking after in some way and I also do the directing the parents and handing out the orders of service. Busy. busy, busy. But everyone knows what to do and it happens like a well oiled machine.
I've done 117 school services to date! I wonder if I can retire soon?!
Some years have been harder than others. The year the old headmaster died, singing his favourite songs was very difficult. Last year my friend Bunny died a few days before the Christmas Services. It was just a blur to me. So hard to see children's happy, excited faces when, for so many of us adults there, Christmas was shattered.
But you just have to get on with it don't you. This year the services were the day before the anniversary of her death and I held it under.
"Hello, how are you? How nice to see you. Yes, yes I'm great, yes, ready for Christmas, yes the weather is surprisingly warm" "Yes, I can do that, let me help you with that, hello, hello, how are you, isn't it lovely, aren't they special" smile, Smile, SMILE.
And the whole time inside I just want to curl up and cry.
It's funny how many years, year after year I have cried when the children start to sing love shone down. The most beautiful of songs when sung by children. But this year I was like a machine. Smile, smile, smile.
I wonder how many other people walk around in a cloud of sadness and paint a sunshine on the outside of it.