Sitting in ChurchPosted: May 21, 2013
At some point during my husband’s field work years, I got used to sitting by myself in church. At first it was lonely feeling isolated in a sanctuary full of people, but then I got used to it. I found that while people mean well by asking if you would like to sit with them, nothing can replace the comfort of having your family beside you in church. Sitting by family is natural. You don’t have to ask if you can join them, it’s just expected that you will. Sitting by well-meaning congregation members isn’t instinctive and there are many variables that can affect possible seating arrangements. What if they are gone on a Sunday and forget to tell you they won’t be there? What if their extended family is visiting and there isn’t any room for you in the pew? What if they choose to sit in a part of a church that you don’t like?
No, after sitting by myself on and off for the last three years, I have found it’s less awkward to simply find my own pew section and sit on my own. Plus, I don’t have to worry about sharing the hymnal with others or keeping my things organized. I can stretch out. I can fidget. It’s become my preferred way of attending services.
However, some weeks this plan doesn’t work. Some weeks church is full. And some weeks, for no apparent reason, people decide that my pew is the perfect place to worship and sit right beside me. Gone is the freedom to fidget. Gone is the space to stretch. And thus begins the awkward jerks and leans as we try to figure out who gets what hymnal.
I don’t like it.
How do you figure out where to sit in church when you are on your own? Do you prefer to sit by others or keep to yourself?