Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Screw ups

Well, it being my first funeral and all, there was bound to be something that went wrong. The funeral is not actually until tomorrow, but I'm already neck deep in $h!t with my organist for handling some things poorly. I will take the vast majority of the responsibility. I was clumsy when I asked her if a family member could play for part of the service. Apparently, she *heard* me say the whole service and felt very offended, but rather than saying so at the time, she waited until she boiled over this morning and came in and literally yelled at me, hurling accusations about my intentions. Something like this:
Walking, or rather marching, in my door-
"I'm very upset."
"Would you like to tell me why?"
"Oh, you know very well why! You know why I'm here!"
(Oh boy, I have no idea what's going on.)
"I'm not sure I do. Can you..."
"You know very well why I'm upset!! Don't pretend you don't know!"
"Why don't you tell me anyway."
(I'm pretending pretty well to be calm so far. Not really feeling it though.)
At one point she pulls out the "How dare you!" at me. (not really sure what I was daring, but...) Well, as unpastoral as it was, I stood up and pulled one right back. Hey, I'm a pastor, not a doormat. I find it pretty unfair of her to fling her misunderstandings at me as though they were intended.
Well, it was about what I mentioned above. Didn't know this at the time, since I thought we'd gone over it the day before. She'd seemed satisfied at the time. I thought I'd pretty straightforwardly asked her if she would like to play the hymns while the family member played the solos--she apparently didn't hear that. I think she'd already gotten her feelings hurt (something, I think, about not seeing her name in the (unfinished version of the) bulletin. And tuned me out at that point.
As we went on, I discovered we'd both made some erroneous assumptions. I said so. She looked at me as if to say, of course I had, but she was in the right all along.
So she flung a few more accusations at me and I did my best pastor imitation and said I was very sorry for handling things so clumsily and I never meant for her feelings to get hurt, I was sorry for not being more clear the day before, I was sorry she misunderstood my intentions, I wished she'd have let me know at the time, I would love if she'd reconsider and play the hymns as was intended,(eat crow, swallow pride, etc.)
Well, she'd have none of it. As she was ready to leave, I said, "I truly hope you can forgive me. I'm very sorry." (Looking as contrite as possible--and actually meaning it. I DID feel bad that things went wrong. I'm not sure I'm ready to accept ALL the blame, as I feel she didn't really listen to what I was saying the day before, but I'm ready to admit I could have handled it better--live and learn. And in case you're wondering, no, our church has no policy about these things, I have to make it up as I go.)
Well, she just waved and walked out. Not even acknowledging my apology. Now THAT is why I'm venting.
Of course, now the family member is asking her to play for part of the service since she (the fam. member)feels she might get a little emotional, so we'll see how that goes over.
Please pray that she can keep her venom contained and not do something to hurt the family. She's a well-practiced southern belle, knowing the fine art of the back-handed compliment, the brittle rejoinder and the acerbic gratitude. But if, on the other hand, she spills/throws punch on me tomorrow, I'll have a great story to tell!

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