We’re Happy, But Their Faces Are Blank
I keep thinking of friends’ faces on Sunday.
We’ve developed several friendships and lots of acquaintances in the congregation to which we belong. We feel like we do belong; this particular congregation, or ward, is made up entirely of married couples who are under thirty. One or both of each couple is attending the local university. Because we all have so much in common by just being in this particular group, it’s easy to make friends. Especially since we see each other every week.
It’s a little harder when you’ve been assigned library duty. The library is basically small room in each church building where we keep our TVs and our church videos. It’s also the place where we keep other visual aids like posters, books, extra sets of hymnals and outdated audio aids, but we mostly babysit the DVD players and make copies. Lots of copies. The job fits us, but it also means we don’t see people and most of them assume we skipped out for the week. We get to attend the main meeting at the end of the three-hour block, but the two instructional and interactive classes before Sacrament? Yeah, we’re making copies or silently flirting with each other.
We didn’t know whether it was our turn for library duty this last Sunday. But we went, and since the library was locked, we took library duty anyway. We talked to the bishopric and told them our good news, and a few friends dropped by the window to have copies made, so we told them the good news too.
By then, I felt I’d repeated myself several times, and the first meeting hadn’t even started yet. So when the girl who’s conducting that meeting popped her head in, heard the good news, and asked if she could help, I asked her to announce our furniture heft and our cleaning party.
“I was going to poke my head in and pipe up during the Good News Minute, but I’m in here, so you just announce it.”
I think she did, because no one spoke to us during the last meeting. There were several chances for people to talk to us and they didn’t. Some acquaintances who always wonder how we’re doing and what’s new in our lives didn’t say a word, even when we were standing right in front of them.
They already know what’s going on. They’re emotionally distancing themselves so we can step out seamlessly, painlessly. No more do they want to put emotional effort into the relationship. Their faces are a little hurt and a little shocked, with a little bit of intentional blankness there. I don’t blame them, nor do I resent them. I just can’t forget it.