Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

I Know, I’m Sorry, Thank You: Day 20 of the April Poetry Challenge

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Today is Easter – my absolute favorite church day of the year. Since I was a young girl many of my fondest Sunday morning memories are of worship services for “Resurrection Sunday.” The light, and the singing, and the pretty dresses, and the pervasive sense of joy! It is something that still inspires in my soul a child-like sense of un-self-conscious delight.

Being transported back to childhood joy, however, gets a little more complicated when I have actual, real-life, personality-laden children to manage during the festive hour of worship. On any given Sunday it’s a toss-up whether we will make it through the service with a few whispered reminders about not disturbing people around us, or whether a mini-tantrum will ensure the disturbance of half of the congregation. Consider the added complications of Easter-basket-induced sugar highs and the celebratory atmosphere of Easter services, and well…. it might not be such an unmitigated celebration.

Therefore, anticipating the potential for a dramatic enactment that has very little to do with the annunciation of the Risen Lord, today’s poem shares my feelings about bring my children to church. It is also my expression of gratitude for our wonderful church home.


 

I know, I’m sorry, Thank you!

 

I know my little ones can be distracting,

when she does her jumping bean impression

on the seat two feet from yours

for seventeen minutes straight;

when he asks me

in a whisper loud enough for a Broadway stage

“what is the pastor saying?”

when they spread the contents of our busy bag,

my careful plan for several hours’ child-minding tasks,

across at least six seats

and all your floor space.

I’m sorry if your worship is disrupted,

when she throws a fit about communion,

refuses to come up, accept a blessing,

because she’s hungry for the bread and wine;

when he performs a pantomiming tantrum

just past the plate-glass walls

designed to let in light, not 4-year-old rebellion;

when they select the moment meant for reverence

to provide an object lesson

– in high decibel surround sound –

of the fallen state of humankind.

I know…

I’m sorry…

and I want to say…

Thank you!

Thank you for your understanding smiles

when I want just to pick them up and run

to ease my own embarrassment.

And thank you even more for how you welcome them

loud noises

and irreverence

and ill-timed questions

and all.

Because he’s learning from you all

to sing our Jesus’s name with a love-full voice and heart;

to pray “Dear God” and to expect a listening ear;

to listen to the prayer we pray together every week,

and to ask at bedtime

what it means

to forgive as we have been forgiven.

And because she now wants to join this family,

to embrace the rite of water;

to confess a faith that’s hers;

to follow all of your examples

in loving Christ

and loving each other

TOGETHER.

 

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Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

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