Marking time

It seems unlikely, but the baby is still not actually overdue, but due on Monday.  We were all so sure he would be early.  Weeza and Phil have been enjoying their time off by going to the cinema each day and relaxing.

We didn’t go out in the end, except to buy a few ingredients (which is a favourite word of Zerlina’s) for lunch tomorrow, so ate at home.  The electricity was off when we arrived back after shopping, but it didn’t matter, there was nothing we wanted it for except, in my case, to boil a kettle for a cup of tea.  It came back on at 4.58 pm – I’ve always found that they are punctilious, if they say 5 o’clock it will be no later.  My good friend Sybil phoned to offer to take over my sidesman duties tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock, since I have Zerlina.  I accepted gratefully.  I’m still down for the 11 o’clock service, I think that Andy, who did the rota, forgot to put down a second person for later – I used to prepare the rota and it’s very easy to do that.  I will go along and get set up and then may be able to leave someone else to clear away.

I wish I could relinquish all these regular church obligations I have to admit – I’ve been doing it for so long and there’s nothing about it that I find enjoyable or satisfying.  I’ve always done voluntary work, since I was a child and was ferried around by my mother to help with Meals on Wheels.  It’s a part of life for me, but I don’t want to keep doing each job forever.  I think that, to remain enthusiastic and fresh, it’s better to do something else every few years.  That seems to be accepted everywhere but in the church, where it’s all a life sentence.  Next Sunday, I’ll both be playing the organ and making and serving coffee, having arranged the flowers the day before.  I’ve come off the PCC, but am still roped in every time there is a discussion, and I’m the contact with the architect and builder.  I’m bored stiff with it.  I have no plans to move house, but if ever I did, I’d not admit to playing any instrument and profess to be far too shy to read a lesson and hopeless at organising anything.  If only I didn’t have to take such drastic action to have any chance of breaking free.

11 comments on “Marking time

  1. Z

    Well yes, it’s taken years of practice. I have to pour the hot water into the pot between hymns though, just too hazardous otherwise.

  2. PixieMum

    How we agree with you regarding church. As I am not a committee person I’ve avoided the PCC but Ian has been a member a number of times and in April was under great pressure to stand for election. Not that there was any competition, not enough people stood. He did not stand, OU studies take much of his time.

    I had been sidesman for a long while, then last November suddenly decided I didn’t wish to serve any more. One of my instant decisions, although I have agreed to help in an emergency.

    It is only in the last few years that I plucked up the courage to read in church. It became one of my personal challenges, (especially as offspring read the lesson from about the age of nine). This has led to leading intercessions, we write our own, mine are as short as possible with no long lists of causes for which to pray. I would prefer the prayers from BCP to be used.

    As the choir is on holiday Ian and I are debating whether we can attend 8am service. Whether we can depends on whether we can get up and out in time. Early mornings are not us!

  3. Dave

    I have always applied Methodism’s five-year rule rigorously – mainly because it encourages people to take on a job if they know it won’t be for life (but also because it allows me to get rid of dead wood too).

  4. Roses

    You see the problem is, you’re too nice and conscientious a person.

    You have problems saying ‘no’, which is why you end up with strange people at your parties (me).

    Might I suggest another tactic? Start being very bad at the tasks you’re tired of. It’s important to start off with the occasional bum note and then work your way up to playing completely the wrong hymn, rather than playing gobbledygook. Suddenly break into Bach in the middle of All Things Bright and Beautiful….that sort of thing. Be cheerful throughout.

    Coffee making is easy. Alternate between lukewarm, slightly brown water or spoon-standingly strong coffee.

    Trust me, the next time you say you’d like to stop volunteering, your resignation will be accepted.

    That is, if you can bear doing the job badly, which I suspect will be worse for you than saying ‘no’.

  5. Christopher

    Tell it not in Gath, this is partly the reason why I came to live in France. (I had thought about arranging for myself to be dismissed for gross incompetence, but the arranging of it implied certain giveaway levels of ability.)

    *sidles off to piano to experiment with working ATBAB into the 48*

  6. Z

    There are plenty of people willing to take on intercessions, that’s part of the difficulty. With six churches in the benefice, each with at least one service every Sunday, a leader and an assistant, that leaves few helpers in the churches.

    Dave, does that includes sidesmen, the organist and the flower arrangers? I’m truly impressed if so.

    Roses, I’m a very bad organist, and I do nothing to improve. I rarely play the hymns before arriving on a Sunday, then have a quick run through before the service. I’ve stopped a verse early, played painfully wrong notes, the lot. With cheerful Christian charity, I’m forgiven everything. It’s too late for me to burst into tears and run away.
    I draw the line at bad coffee – but in fact, if I resigned then that would make the few remaining helpers have to do even more. When Andy and Gill were out of action in the winter, we were down to four people to do the jobs regularly. I did music, Sally did readings, Brenda did coffee, Sybil was sidesman. Any extra volunteers were a bonus.

    Of course, when one wants to give up a paid job, one resigns. When it’s voluntary, one has to find a replacement first, otherwise it’s letting people down. Leaving the country would work though, I agree.

  7. Mike and Ann

    I can’t think of any other method that might work Z. We’ve moved around a good deal, and usually we agree that we’re not going to get too involved in voluntary work in the new place. Within a year we always find we’ve been ‘volunteered’ (i.e. roped in) to do things. I don’t think moving on and changing the name would work. A change of persona is the only thing that might.

  8. Z

    I don’t mind volunteering, and taking on responsibilities, it’s the letting go of them again that can be the problem!

  9. Liz

    My mum was Akela at the cub scouts in the village where she lives at one time. She wanted to give it up after my youngest brother left but it took her years to extracate herself from it completely because no one else wanted to take it over.

  10. Z

    And that was partly because everyone else knew that they’d be stuck with the job for ages – a time limit is a very good idea, but it only works if there actually is anyone to take over.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.