Sunday, March 22, 2009

Church Skipping...

It is very important to me that we attend church together as a family each week--it is one of the few things in our weekly lives that is consistent, we have many friends there, we worship together as a family, and learn the same biblical narratives together.

My children have always resisted Sunday School--for Logan I think this issue reveals precisely why Kindergarten would not have been a successful experience for him. He is ready to talk in greater depth about most subjects than the level that a Sunday School class for 5-year-olds tends to go. So, he's just waiting, the whole time, for us to come pick him back up. This makes him resentful, and then he fights the next week. By including him in the whole worship service, we have found his behavior in church to be exceptional--he just wants to be with the bigger people! He has memorized the songs we sing--the Sanctus, the Lord's Prayer, and more. We spontaneously sing them at home! Last year he got baptized and participated in First Communion. So church matters to Logan, like it does to his mom & dad.

Teagan just hates being anywhere without her brother--so she also joins us for the whole service, though I'd really like her to be in Sunday School, because there are some sweet little people in there she will not otherwise get to know, and she is more appropriately age-categorized in her class (where she is among the youngest, rather than the oldest).

HOWEVER, as Tom was on a three-day hike this weekend, I was doing morning routine without him--and we were running a little bit behind. We were leaving the house so late, in fact, that I just felt red-eared about it. And, I decided that racing to church to get there 30 minutes late would not be as valuable to me this day (nor the kids) as my just taking them off into the Shenandoah mountains, instead. We drove about 45 minutes, till we reached Berrysville, VA. About 10 minutes into the drive Logan said, "I've never gone this way to Truro before!"

"We're not going to Truro today."

"We're not!?"

All three of us were dressed for church--I had heels on, Tea was in a dress, and Lo was sporting some slacks--but I knew we could enjoy God's creation from the car, praying together, reading some books I had brought along, and worshipping God in his outdoor sanctuary. I was sure we could pick up some lunch items along the way, and that we were not in danger of freezing to death in the middle of a 56 degree day with a full tank of gas on a major highway. So, we went forth.

Pie at a roadside stand; bread & cheese at a natural food store; an adorable playground with picnic benches surrounded by mountains on all sides! Logan found another same-height boy and yelled from atop a 30' enclosed tower, "Hey, you! Yeah, you! Hang on--I'm coming down!" These two strangers then played side by side for 45 minutes, (mostly with Logan running ahead with big ideas, and the other boy agreeing to Logan's plan...), never even learning each other's names. They had arms around each other by the end. This is my son!

Logan is a leader. He connects well with others & finds common ground, laughs with them and makes fast friends. He is also a bit of a trouble-maker sometimes. Today was no exception.

The boys started shooting their fingers at each other, and then Logan & this boy (whose mother called him Brendan) were "shooting" Brendan's little sister (Ashley). Ashley did not like that one bit--and went crying to her mom. Girls! So dramatic! Well, unfortunately young Ashley was annoyed at least 2 other times--Logan apparently called her the Bad Guy (she didn't care for that & tattled to Mom), but Brendan reported to me that Ashley had told Logan she would punch him in the face. Hmmmm...didn't that with her mother, somehow!! Whoa, girl! Back down!

So, I got upset with Lo for chasing the little girl & making her the enemy. I didn't like that the boys were ganging up on Teagan & Ashley--and told him so, applying The Golden Rule:

"Logan! You know not to do something to another person you wouldn't want them doing to you! How would you feel if someone you didn't know suddenly called you 'The Bad Guy' and chased you around the park with an imaginary gun?"

"I wouldn't mind, Mom. I'm a boy, and boys don't mind anything!"

How Logan knows himself! It astounds me time after time!! When he throws a fact at me like that, my anger at him just melts away.

"Lo, how about we agree, then, that you won't torture the girls!? OK?"

"OK. Sure, Mom."

To a boy, it's as simple as that, isn't it?

Very different from Teagan's drama. She was so upset in a game of Dino Math Tracks, tonight, when the dice forced her into a faceoff with her brother (triceratops against stegosaurus). She whined & whined about it. She didn't want to fight with anyone! We explained that the game had dinosaurs in it; that dinosaurs fought; that these were the rules of the game! But she whined & whined & whined.

OH! One of each. How different they are!

I really needed this day--a Sabbath day!! I want to incorporate more Sabbath thinking into our lives. We had a visiting minister come to Truro about 6 months ago who shared how his family lights candles on Saturday nights to prepare themselves for the 24-hour Sabbath that begins & ends with sundown. This was the subject of last week's sermon, as well, and I have been wanting to put that into our weekly practice since last fall. We have used candles to celebrate many other momentous occasions--like Logan's 1st year baptism birthday last week--but I have yet to get us all to a decorated Saturday night table for a supper sanctuary moment. Tory (our Rector) spoke to this commandment last week (in our Lenten study of the Ten Commandments), and I feel even more convicted.

The rituals of a higher order church are not in place for rote reasons--they are meant to draw us in to meaningful understanding of deep spiritual concepts. Attending church, lighting candles, taking the bread & wine, singing, kneeling, standing... these are physical ways to express an inward effect in our lives.

I am sorry we skipped church today, as I always miss it when we do not go, but I am also grateful for a wonderful service we went to tonight at a daughter church--and I really loved the sacred time with my children in the mountains today.

This is my son's life verse:
Psalm 121 ("A song of ascents"), NIV

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

1 comment:

Robynn's Ravings said...

Sometime things happen and it just doesn't go the way we plan. But I love the new things that can come out of it. And yes, boys are so straightforward. I love that about my son. :)