This week I was asked to be an Usher at church for the first time. Within minutes of being asked, I was reminded of one of my biggest childhood fears: the Usher!!!
Why would anyone be scared of an Usher at church, you might ask! It all dates back to my childhood. OK, here's the explanation:
When I was a kid, there was a Jamaician (sp?) lady at church who's name was Udeen Lester. I don't know a lot about the heritage, history or traditions of Jamaica- but I do know one thing from knowing Ms. Lester- they always add an "H" to any word that begins with a vowel. They also take the "H" away from words that begin with "H". Ms. Lester would always invite us to her "ouse" (house). She might feed us a "amburger" (hamburger). We got a big laugh each time that she introduced our Lay reader Amy Orr as "Hamy Horr" (whore).
I remember the first time that Ms. Lester told me about the "Hushers" at church. She told me that the Hushers walked up and down the aisle at various times throughout the service. I was so afraid of the Hushers-- they would probably watch me to make sure I wasn't talking. I was very careful not to sing the hymns too loudly, not to communicate with my brothers in any way during the service, not raise the kneeling pad up and down more than necessary. After all- if I made the smallest noise, the Husher might decend on me and who knows what would happend next. Whenever the Hushers came down the aisle, I'd sit perfectly still, like a deer in headlights!
So here I was 30 something years later- I was the Usher. I had become the thing I feared more than the nasty old librarian at Chapel Hill Elementary School. I was the Husher! In my mind, my job last Sunday was to discourage any unnecessary noise. Luckily, I was an adult and realized that my job was merely to take up the offering. I didn't try to hush anyone, though at times I wish I had had that power!