From Vegas to church on Sunday in just in a matter of days.
Spending so much time indulging in the city of sin last week perversely caused me to want to go to church this past Sunday even though I hadn't been there in a while. I gifted my husband with 3 hours of blessed solitude to go for a bike ride and I packed up the children to go to our church. That sounds much easier than it is since my 3 year old Little D and I got into a huge argument because I wouldn't let her wear her Mets shirt and Big A insisted on bringing a tiny Minecraft figure that would surely somehow end up in the collection plate.
But we made it, (with time to spare!) and collapsed into the pew along my parents. My mom immediately began doling out tictacs which annoyed me because she should really wait until the sermon for that kind of thing when the kids get really antsy. Daphne opened her mouth wide to smugly show me the dissolving contraband Grandma had given her and promptly dropped a hymnal on the floor.
We got through the prayer of the day without incident but during a quiet moment of reflection during the Gospel Big A stage whispered "IS THIS ALMOST OVER YET?" It wasn't. And then Little D dropped a hymnal again. During the sermon, where the pastor made a reference to Great Expectations I enjoyed immensely, I began to feel peace in my heart. Then Little D dropped a hymnal again. I noticed Big A's finger kept scratching his nose in such a way that he was itching to pick it and I rooted around in my bag for a Kleenex. Then during another moment of quiet reflection Little D dropped a hymnal again.
I took away the hymnal.
We sang the Hymn of the Day, but I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing since my 6 year old was belting it out and even trilling his Rs, a la the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz. I have no inkling why he was singing that way but I was distracted because Little D had now bamboozled Grandma into giving her more orange tictacs. Big A stage whispered during the prayers "WHEN IS COFFEE HOUR? DO YOU THINK THEY'LL HAVE BROWNIES?" instead of "Help us, oh Lord!" and I could have sworn he mumbled "Help us to have brownies at coffee hour today, oh Lord" but I can't prove it. When the choir sang, quite beautifully, Little D showed her distaste by covering her ears with her hands. "Where is all this music coming from?" Big A wondered and I tried to silently point towards the pipe organ.
The kids started slumping down in the pew, emulating a posture I remember well from my own childhood and when communion came I was glad that they'd get to stretch their legs a bit. But imagine my surprise when the pastor offered my son communion wine.
"No!" I objected.
"Yes, please!" he insisted.
To my relief she didn't give him the blood of Christ but imagine my surprise when Big A grabbed my near-empty plastic cup I was about to throw away and chugged the rest down. My cheeks flaming I dragged them back to my seats, wondering why I put myself through this.
From what I've noticed, kids get really bored in church. That's why I lobbied successfully to have Sunday happen during the majority of the service. But this particular day there was no Sunday School and thus, no real way to make the Parable of the Bridesmaids and Their Lamps relatable to kids.
When we finally got down to coffee hour and the kids plates were heaped with bagels, fruit and the coveted brownies, I tried to explain the gospel to them in a way they could understand.
"Are you glad you came with me to church today?" I asked Big A.
"Definitely!" he said.
"Really?" I said, somewhat touched that this all wasn't lost on him.
"Oh, yeah," he said "If I hadn't come with you to church today, I wouldn't be here munching on this delicious brownie."
But I will not give up despite what can be an incredibly embarrassing and seemingly futile endeavor. I will continue taking the kids to church, because I want to expose them to a place where I've found a lot of joy and peace throughout my life. I'm sorry it's boring at times, (and truthfully my mind wanders off occasionally also) but I ultimately think proving a church life and a church family for my children is incredibly important.
Even if it inadvertently starts them drinking wine at an early age.