I fainted in church Sunday.
Fainting in church has always been a secret fear of mine. I’d always imagined, when it inevitably happened to me, that it would happen at a very inopportune time—like, in the middle of preaching or while I was standing in a full baptistery.
Honestly, I did feel rather woozy during the sermon itself, but it wasn’t until I was already standing at the back door shaking hands with visitors that I knew I was a goner.
It was all very dramatic. One minute I was shaking a visitor’s hand, and the next I was sitting, slumped over on a back pew, with a whole bunch of people standing over me looking really worried. (I’ll be curious to see if that visitor visits again . . . ). To make a long story short, it took about twenty minutes for some color to come back to my face, and for that clammy, sweaty feeling to go away enough for me to feel like I could make it all the way back to my office.
During those twenty minutes everyone kept asking in many different expressions: What’s wrong? Why did you faint? Are you sick?—good questions, all, but I had answers to none of them. I reviewed all of this in my mind—Not enough sleep? Forgot to eat breakfast? Flu shot I got right before worship? Probably a combination of all three, I decided, as I walked gingerly back to my office.When I made it into the church office, our front desk attendant Wardell took one look at me and said, “What happened to YOU??!?”
“I fainted in church,” I explained.
Without missing a beat, Wardell asked me the one question no one in church had asked yet, and a possibility I confess I had not considered. “Was it the Spirit?” he asked, with all seriousness.
I giggled, I’ll admit, and he looked at me strangely.
Later, though, I thought perhaps that possibility should at least have appeared on my list for consideration. After all, I was in church when it happened.
Honestly, I think it was the flu shot in the end. But Wardell’s question made me wonder if I wander through life sometimes—wander through my faith—never considering the possibility and presence of God’s Spirit.
Maybe I didn’t feel the Spirit so close to me Sunday that I fainted in church. But maybe I miss the Spirit more often than I should. So I am thinking from now on: awareness, intention, listening—all those, plus a healthy breakfast and no more flu shots before preaching . . . I don’t want to miss any time I feel the Spirit.