Reverence is important to me. A reverent Sacrament meeting can do wonders for my sabbath observance, and personal spirituality. So it came as no surprise when one of my Facebook friends asked me if I was going to write about a specific distraction that goes on in church meetings around the world.
Back scratching. I have never mentioned it on my blog. Why? Because I'm guilty. Wracked with guilt.
OK, I'm not really "wracked with guilt. The guilt is more of a passing afterthought that I have learned to ignore. Completely. Occasionally, my lovely EC will gently scratch my back as I am
fighting to stay awake pondering what is being taught in church meetings. It is gentle, it is loving, and it is though a suit coat, so it loses 80% of the intended impact. I don't think it is tooo distracting. (?) Being a good husband, I will reciprocate, and I imagine it feels way better for her - again because of the suit coat. For over five years I sat on the stand and never had my back scratched. Nor did I ever muster the courage to ask one of my counselors. (Hand massages were definitely out.)
Unfortunately, if any of you have children, then you know that once the camel's nose is in the tent, he will take a mile. (Or is that give 'em an inch and they'll take a camel..?)
Sometimes I look over at my sons and see that they have moved far beyond a discreet scratch to full blown backrubs. Multiple boys. Scratching. It sounds like a corduroy convention. ('Google' corduroy if necessary.)
Now is the time for my hypocrisy to shine forth: I give the boys a look, and shake them off. They know the shake off. They grew up with it. It has been perfected since my early days as a baseball catcher. It is almost imperceptible to the casual observer, but carries untold power toward those who know and understand. They stop scratching. But so does my wife. Drat!
Having to "practice what I preach" is rather annoying. However, so is sitting behind a family that is engaged in continual back scratching. This is my quandary: Do we stop? Or just pretend it has no impact on the people around us?
Luckily, my 4th grader has become addept at rubbing hands. He offers to rub my hand, in return for equal attention. It is nice, and not as visible as the back scratch. My EC is really good at this, too.
Obviously we are well past the washing of feet stage in the church, but am I the only one that is on the fence with back scratching? I know from some emails that there are those who are really distracted by it. (Elder Oaks refers to the "Principle of Non-Distraction" in sacrament meetings. Does it apply here?)
So, what is your take? Is it OK to scratch away? Is it irreverent?
I created a survey up in the upper-right hand corner to see what you have to say about it. I am curious, please vote.
I need to wrap this up. The more I type the itchier I'm getting.