Sundays are usually a day I have been looking forward to, since I was younger, since the time I could walk myself to church, I could spend a lot of time on the church grounds… loved just being around church. This grew from just loving being around church grounds to loving the dancing youths… well, this lasted up to the point the beauty of the white robes worn by catholic priests and altar servants (boys at my church then), got to my mind and I decided I would want to wear them. So I became an altar servant… Wore the white robes for the longest and most fulfilling time of my boy life… Of course inclusive of eating nice food, endless seasons of ripe and sweet yellow bananas and fruits from the Padre’s house. I grew older and this changed into being a youth. Then serving as a youth… then teaching children. All this was fun. Nothing mesmerizes like the curiosity of innocent children, the disorder ad confusion associated with handling mixed age groups and the pleasure of trying new things to entertain, teach and keep children occupied. This was a great journey. Having to dig deep into the bible and explain things that children did not understand – which in a way I now believe worked on me most than it did on the kids.
Then adult life – gaps. I became the child, curiosity was transferred to me… along this path of curiosity, I learnt of a higher call to serve… and the perks that comes from being an active participant and contributor of this life of salvation. The enjoyment of feeding the spirit. Specifically praising and worshiping God. Praise and Worship – One of my favorite sessions at a church service. Every day of my new life has presented a song I never heard before, a song that a minute after it starts, I am already singing along to it , like I knew it. Happiness is when the lyrics come through on the screens at the front. Any new song becomes the search query on YouTube until it is well learnt. So that next time… I will shout as loud as possible with all the confidence possible… well, sometimes, that song comes again after 3 weeks…
So on this Sunday, I am met by a beautiful voice right at the gate as the guard is frisking me and I cannot wait to get into the church. I gain access using the farthest entrance at the back and my eyes affixed to the pulpit. The praise and worship team is looking as elegant as usual but there is a new figure and new voice that catches my senses. I eyes-right all the way to the position I choose to sit at the extreme left end of the tent. This was too good, a wonderful song was being sung. I am naïve enough not to have heard it as clearly as it did this time round. But this is the time I hear it audibly. I mumbled through the lyrics which I cannot be sure whether they were on the screen or not. Clearly, I was distracted, I wanted to sing, but I couldn’t sing. I just wanted to stare at the front, I don’t know why I had to be this distracted. I did not even raise my hand when everyone was deep in worship at that very moment. Our church is a big tent church. The pulpit is placed on the long side end of the tent and the seats face up front in a curve around, and facing the pulpit. Since I was still a visitor, I usually used the back entrance and walked past the ushers and past the media and sound department and to the far left of the tent. This meant I would be facing the pulpit, the pastors’ seats and the far opposite end of the congregation. It was the best position having a whole view of the church (see the people – the people) and the main entrance of the church yet close enough to the word of God. I liked this place. Lately I don’t see the need of this paranoia in church by the way, or the related complication of choosing a paranormal perfect ‘Sheldon Cooper~ed’ sitting position in church.
From where I was coming from (a very focused young man of God, loving Jesus with his whole heart, recently born again and very woke. I did not want anything to stop me from going to heaven, I needed all the focus to know how to get to heaven) of all the people who I expected, to distract me was someone standing in front of everyone and leading worship. Once in a while we get distracted by people, children, outfits, a thought, the technician adjusting an equipment somewhere, you know… and at my particular point in life a beautiful girl or just a girl – just a girl would work when you think time is running out, – but it is only a bad thought. But my mind was on overdrive, I cannot tell if it was my heart making these decisions or it was just my mind and the excitement that overwhelmed me.
‘I like her!’
‘I like her’
‘I like her’
‘Wish I could get to know her’
This run through my mind. Unfortunately it did not come at the right time. I started wondering why, she wasn’t sitting among the seats, then maybe I could have tactically moved seats and changed positions – next Sunday maybe. As in, of all the girls my ears and eyes settled for, they chose someone on the pulpit to distract me. Guess I never expected this to be what it would be. But for the first time, and I wasn’t sick or disturbed or anything, I just flowed through the praise and worship session as if I was not there. I was seriously distracted. The voice was too good, the song was too good and the band just accompanied it right. I talked a lot as well. My friend was just smiling next to me. Coming to think of it… I hope I wasn’t making a fool of myself…
“Sijawai muona” (I have never seen her before)
“Ata mimi kusema tu ukweli, sijawai muona!” ( I have never seen her before as well – said my friend.)
I am following this “singer” all the way to her seat after the praise and worship session. Needless to say, mine was a different session. I have no name for it but I was not praising and worshiping God. I was singing – very loudly by the way, but I was just lost in thought. I couldn’t see her clearly, all I know is that she had short brown hair, she smiled a lot, and when it was time for business, the smile faded as fast as it came. Her glasses gave her this aura of a salvation geek. Think of someone in tech maybe, a systems engineer, web designer who designs church websites or something, a budding corporate queen of those church based organisations or something in those no-nonsense Monday to Friday -white collar lines. One of those hackers who don’t speak to anyone except their fellow online bots and LAN gamers. “I wish I did, that software engineering,” went a thought in my mind. A classmate of mine from high school – Morris and I wanted to be Software engineers while in form 3, typing fast is the closest I got.
Was she married? Was she engaged? At this point that was all that was in my mind. Then an opportunity arose to find out. It is interesting that unconsciously, I had started seeking out ladies from a point of engagement or marriage, not just single or dating. I had never seen her before, and I needed to know where she came from, and why I hadn’t seen her before. Though I had not been a member of the church for long – rather, I had not attended the services of this church for long (I was still a visitor). Then during the announcements, the minister decided to ask the men to stand up… There was an upcoming father’s seminar (I attended one of these earlier this month and it was awesome!) and they wanted to recognize the fathers in the church.
‘Please also ask the women to stand up’ (Screamed my thoughts, in anticipation.) *Fingers Crossed*
Oh yes!!!! The service programmer decided that it would be wise for the family ( Men, women, youth) to stand up. He called the women next, and they waved, stood up and we clapped… She did not stand up… I tried to calm my excitement by convincing myself that we have engaged people… You should have seen the look on my face when the youths were told to stand up… She was on the other end. Standing directly opposite my position. Of course she did not notice me… This time round I did not even look around the rest of the church for long, just a quick count of the youth noting the ratios just like I did for the rest of the congregation. Yeah!!! She was a youth member! I badly needed to be on the next bus to a youth retreat at this very point of the service. I couldn’t wait for the announcements, badly hoping for a meeting to be announced – some miracle retreat and voila! Whooo!!! I don’t even know if church was the place for these kinds of ideas, but I detected a new story with this one. There had to be…