We finally went today. I’ve been trying to go — really, I have — but to leave the house on the weekend with two little kids to make them do something we frankly really don’t want to do seemed like an impossible task.
It’s hard enough to get out of the house to do something fun, you know?
I wish I could say I have complicated feelings about the church so it would seem like I’ve given this big step SOME THOUGHT but I don’t. Not really. I was raised in the church and think it’s a good, easy way to give children some moral guidance.
We’re close to our families and love them desperately but don’t see them much; it’s really Nat and me and their teachers raising these kiddos on a day to day basis. We could use some extra help to keep these kids on the straight and narrow. As that is what church is to me — a way to think about community. To think outside of yourself. To (hopefully) get some extra instruction on the life lessons we try to live in our every day lives. To meet people different from us but who are connected by a desire to do and be better.
But C-H-U-R-C-H seemed like a big bite to take (you know, with the sermoning and the hymns and the prayers and the sitting and the standing, every week until you die). My children were baptized in the church, mainly because I knew it would please my mother to no end. In order to do the baptisms, the minister who is a friend from my hometown, made me promise I would get my kids to church. Every time he sees me, he asks if I’ve gotten my kids to church. And every time I make a face like so:
I’ve gingerly talked about the topic with friends in NJ with small children. And a few brought up a local church (an all-inclusive one, which is important to me) which has something called Waffle Church (how about THAT branding? Genius). It’s held in the Fellowship Hall and they make waffles and parents and their little kids hang out together.
I wish I could say we went today because I finally felt a higher calling. But no. We went because it’s Thanksgiving break and we’ve been at home for four days with little children and we needed to Get Out of The House.
So today we went, ate some waffles and they played a funny video about Advent the kids loved. Someone, I have no idea who, gave a quick little talk while little children ran around her, about how important it is to make people feel welcome. To open your arms and make them feel protected and loved. She noted the hall we were in needed some work; the chipped paint wasn’t very “welcoming.” So we then made banners of Advent words “Hope” “Peace” “Joy” and “Love” to hang on the walls to cover the chipped paint and other marks. She noted some teenagers from the church were going to come later to hang the banners. I thought about how pleased I would be for my kids to do something like that when they are older; to do something good in a safe space.
My husband, who also went (I told him he didn’t have to go; I feel like all I ever do is ask him to do things but Waffle Church sounded like a good deal to him), can get behind some crafting, so we got to work, making a banner on the floor with some felt. A little, beautiful girl plopped in his lap and he helped her trim some felt for about 20 minutes. I wore jeans. Another Mom with 3 little kids (including twins) was there in her slippers. There was coffee.
And after 45 minutes, it was done. Over. We cleaned up a bit and left.
This is the kind of church I can get behind.