I'm not a pastor. And whenever I think I'd like to be a pastor, I just think about one or two of the more difficult conversations I've had in my non-pastoral job. It will suffice to say that those thoughts make me ever so grateful for the men that lead our church.
I had one of those more difficult conversations today. Thankfully, it wasn't difficult because of the person on the other end of the phone line. It was difficult because she had been affected negatively by something for which I was responsible. The effect was significant enough to bring her to tears when it happened and then again as she told me about it.
Two Sundays ago, she was standing in the back of our sanctuary holding her 15-month old baby. As the band transitioned to the last song, something happened that made the volume increase significantly. Then, her right ear began to hurt. The pain quickly worsened as time progressed. She had to leave the room. As she battled her own pain, she thought about her baby. What was he feeling? Did this hurt him as well?
The tears came. And, thankfully, so did one of our pastors, who happened to be walking through the lobby at the time. He listened to and cared for her. He also let me know what happened, so that I could talk to her.
When we spoke, I found out that she had a genetic hearing disorder. Her hearing in her right ear was failing. Most likely, the volume didn't change significantly, but it increased just enough to cross the threshold of her already weakened capacity.
As we talked, she very humbly asked questions about our decisions on volume level, and listened carefully while I explained our research and thoughts about it (read more here from a former post on our specifics). Not surprisingly, since she is a godly woman, she was grateful to hear that we take our sound level seriously and that we wanted to make sure that no one was being hurt by attending worship.
She agreed that changing the entire worship context just for her wouldn't make sense. She has decided to wear earplugs during worship, given her condition and the possible pain that could result. Although that isn't her preference, and it isn't mine either, I think it is the best solution. But I'm still grieved that she had to experience this.
One of our pastors reminded me that these kinds of conversations are so critical to church life because Covenant Life Church is not a meeting facility. It's a family. As one of the leaders in our "home," it's important that I know who's listening to the family stereo.
Photo Credit: SugaShane