Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I have the sacrament blues, do you?

The term "Sacrament Blues" originated about 6 months ago from the burden of having to carry the tray down the aisle when the next person is really far away, but it entails a much wider scope of sacrament mishaps, embarrasments, and blunders.

First, and foremost, is the tray-carry. This is not so applicable at "normal" ward buildings, but at BYU the sacrament meetings are held in large classrooms, movie theatres, and auditoriums. The rows of chairs can be quite long. If you are sitting with a group of two or three friends in a row, the next person may be anywhere from 10 to 20 chairs away in your row. If you are the person who happened to be stuck on the end of your group, then you have to get up and carry the tray down the row to the next group of people. This may happen anywhere from 1-3 times per row. It has always been funny to watch how people do the long-tray-pass. Some people take their drink and then get up to go pass it. I've also seen people get up with the tray immediately and try to take their share while they are walking. It takes incredible talent to pull this maneuver, though. Most rows of chairs are curved and have small desk tops protruding out at BYU. To be able to walk down the uneven aisle, holding a tray in one hand, and cocking your head back to take a drink with the other all at the same time without running into anyone/anything is no easy task.

Another form of the blues is the loud-water-swallow. In any normal situation, a swallow is just a swallow and it goes completely unnoticed. In the midst of a sacrament passing, however, this is not the case. Sacrament meetings have been known to be so quiet that a swallow can be heard across the room (not much unlike the Sprint "Pin Drop"). For some of us who happen to be loud swallowers, this can be very embarrassing. I've found that the best way to mask the swallow is the adjust-in-your-chair-as-you-swallow technique. The creak of the chair and the re-crossing of your legs emit just the right amount of sound to cut the edge of the swallow in the silent room. Other methods may be employed, but the chair shift has proven to be the most effective for me. Some other forms of the noise-blues in the silent sacrament room include someone who has a cough, a crying baby, an embarrassing talking neighbor, and spilling the entire tray all over the ground.

Then, of course, there is the deacon-water-spill. People get so offended by this! It's not like he purposely is dumping water all over your lap. It's not his fault the teachers who prepared the trays filled the tray with extra water that it is slowly dripping out of the bottom onto everyone's legs as they pass it down the aisle. Another form the the water spill is bumping the tray against the edge of a pew or into someone's shoulder. Both have been known to be very loud and embarrassing for the deacon.

The point is, sacrament meetings have fallen into such a pattern that anyone who has ever been to a Mormon church would notice the sacrament blues. The quietness required during the sacrament is comforting for some, but unnerving for others. I have the sacrament blues, do you?

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