I attend church almost every Sunday with Maggie because she “suggests” that I go. She says if I want to be with her in Heaven for all Eternity, I should be more diligent.
I asked if I could sleep on it.
And so it is that every Sunday, I follow her to the far side of the pews on the left, genuflect, and slip sideways into a seat. Here, I must tell you that Maggie has a knack of selecting the one pew in the entire church that is, in my opinion, flawed in one way or another. Either the kneeler isn’t quite right, or the sun blasts through the stained glass window as a warning of things to come, or there is a nearby child, or two, or three, just waiting for Mass to begin so they can test their new and ever improving vocal chords.
Now before you condemn me to Hell for hating children, let me point out that I have four beautiful grandchildren that I love dearly and that nothing is farther from the truth. I love children. Just not in church. I know I know … it’s not their fault. I understand it’s hard for the little ones to stay still for an entire hour that most adults would slit their wrists to avoid. But the parents— They should know better. Taking a screaming child out of the church would do wonders for their Immortal Soul.
So today, Maggie selected a pew two rows from the back. That was good. It made for a quick getaway. Because beside us, and in the pew behind us, sat two & three year-old children with their respective parents, and I was smack dab in the middle of them. I nudged Maggie and nodded.
“They’re just babies,” she said, her blue eyes blazing with Hellfire and Brimstone. “You should be more tolerant. Especially in church.”
I must admit, the two little girls in our pew were very cute and well behaved, but Mass hadn’t started yet, and I fully expected that when it did, all He— All heck would break loose. Then a young family seated themselves in the pew in front of us with their two young girls, settling in directly in front of the children in our pew. I was outnumbered.
I heard their mother call them by name: Sadie, a little brunette with a green-print pullover, and Sophia, a demure strawberry-blonde in pink. Mom pulled out a large baggie containing two well-used coloring books and a smaller bag of crayons; some broken in half, all rounded on the ends. She whispered something to her girls and flipped down a kneeler. Using it as a seat, the two transformed the pew into their own private desk and started the very serious work of keeping within the lines.
It wasn’t a moment later that Sade and Sophia were whispering with the two little girls in my pew, peeking through the space in the bench, sharing their coloring books and crayons, a couple toys, and just having a grand ol’ time. I couldn’t help but smile. Then I noticed Maggie was smiling at me. Apparently, there’s hope for me still.
Toward the end of Mass, the girls had tired of their Kindergarten Church, but by then it made little difference. The priest was wrapping it up and folks were gathering their things and their children, and no doubt looking forward to a little breakfast and their Sunday morning shows when they got home.
I know I was.
Have a wonderful, and tolerant, week.
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