Sunday, December 22, 2013

Get me to the church on time

Thank you all for your kind words, your referrals and experiences.  It never ceases to amaze me how connected I can feel to people so far away (some of whom I have never met!).  Things are moving along with Hayden - I'm not positive we're going forward yet, but we are at least getting oriented that way.  I am starting to figure out how to navigate the school system and we are finding some outside resources which I am hopeful will help.

Enough with the drama.  Did you know I went to church last week?  Not counting weddings, funerals or my most recent visit I have been to exactly one church service in my life.  My husband, who I knew believed in God before we got married although I thought it was in more of an intellectual and private sort of way rather than a "let's go hang out with the Methodists up the street" sort of way, has been going to church more lately and taking the kids with him.  He asked me to take the kids to church this weekend since he was on call. I knew it would mean a lot to him and I also knew that (1) there was drive thru coffee on the way and that (2) the children would be whisked away to Sunday school soon after our arrival so I acquiesced. Sunday morning rolled around and I optimistically slipped my Ipad, loaded with the newest Stephen King book, into by bag and rounded up the troops.

The kids bickered as I tried to edge the van into the only remaining space between a truck so jacked up I could see the chassis in my rear view mirror and an Oldsmobile Cutlass with red velvet interior.  I parked, took off my seat belt and hit the back door open button as I jumped out to pre empt the inevitable smack down surrounding who would exit the car first.  As I came around the back of the van I saw an elderly couple moving slowly, solemnly even, towards the entrance of the church.  They were arm in arm, each with a cane in their respective other hands.  They came abreast of the van just as the door slid back and "Zeni you are an asshole!"  came wafting out.  I desperately hit the door close button but at this point both kids were jammed, half in and half out of the car neither budging lest the other be the triumphant first exiter.  They both started screaming as the door tried to decapitate them, apparently sensing my desperation to return their screaming and cursing to the confines of the van. Aghast does not begin to describe the look on that godly couples faces.

Once the pious couple was safely inside the church I released my children.  With a tight grasp on each of their wrists we entered the church which was quiet - like, library quiet.  I noticed lots of other children as we entered the sanctuary and my heart soared.  I looked around, attempting to meet the eyes of other parents with similarly dysfunctional children and exchange "Jesus Christ this sucks, when does Sunday School start so I can read my book!?"  glances with them.

It wasn't happening.

I examined their children and noted, as my heart sunk, that they had all gotten dressed that morning so that they would look presentable to God: shirts had buttons, skirts had ruffles, hair was combed.  Without looking I knew that Hayden still had yogurt around his mouth from breakfast and that his sister donned her usual mishmash of non-matching layered items and hair that had not been brushed since at least Friday.  When Zeni's hair is not brushed it sticks straight up with little bits of string and other detritus mingling with the curl.  In addition to being impeccably dressed, the other children were also sitting quietly in the pews.

Well shit.

Things continued in this general manner.  It turns out that there is no Sunday School on the first Sunday of the month so that families can take communion together.  Of course.  If the thought of trying to keep my kids quiet for the entire hour wasn't stressful enough, the whole Communion Question really threw me for a loop.  Hayden hasn't been baptized and while I would guess Zeni was when she was born (her birth mother was Orthodox Christian) what do I know?  Do you need to be Baptized to have communion?  Is it awkward for me to ferry my kids up there when I am not partaking?  Frantic texts to Jeremy yielded no reply.  AND THEN.  And then the pastor asked everyone to come up to take communion, to form orderly lines and wait until the pew in front of you was finished before you hustled your way up to have your munch on Christ.  AND THEN he said that if you prefered a GLUTEN FREE option please get in the line on the right.

Excuse me?

You're telling me that everyone in here is good with eating what they believe to be someone elses BLOOD and BODY, but they draw the line at GLUTIN?

And then I was done.  As our pew rose we followed everyone out into the center row and made a break for it.  Once the kids realized we were heading towards the exit and not towards the grape juice they expressed their displeasure in loud, whiney voices that I hoped God could hear because, even if we don't agree on much, I have a feeling that God would be on my side about the gluten free body of his only son.  I rolled my eyes skyward as we exited and gave whatever is up there a "oy" and a shrug and you know what?  I think I felt the universe "oy" back.


M said...

Oh Elise, this post is hilarious . Ralph asked why I was laughing so hard and I read it to him, whereby he promptly laughed out loud too. This was just what I needed after surviving a "gluten-free" but filled with all things gluten holiday with my MIL. M
P.S. You rocked the habit!

Amelia said...

Oh. Your. God. I love this so much!! You're such a good wife!

The other day G was playing with her dolls and she said loudly; "If you don't stop that you're going to timeout, and if you refuse to sit there you're going to CHURCH." I was laughing my ass off honestly but I tried to choke it back and asked her what she knows about church, I didn't think she'd ever been. She says; "I did too! When daddy's aunt Sheri DIED there." A funeral. Awesome. I'm pretty sure she was sentencing her doll to death. Eek.