Sunday, August 1, 2010

Another Story about Church-Going

Today we took the kids to the Cathedral for mass.  Our parish church is just a block from our house but every once in a while we like to expose our kids to great architecture and, if we're lucky, a mass said by our very own Archbishop.

Ha!  Who am I kidding?  It's the closest church that has a noon mass for us late-risers and the Archbishop is rarely present that late in the day anyway.

Today I blame Lucy, who insisted on taking a morning nap which caused bed head so bad that the detangling project ate right into the 11 o'clock service just down the street.

I, for one, love the Cathedral so you won't find too many complaints from this lady.  The great structure reminds me of a model-sized replica of the grand churches I toured on my college abroad trip to England and France.

With kids it's a bit of a different story.  On the one hand the building is so large that their movements and voices go largely unnoticed.  On the other hand the acoustics are state-of-the-art, a fact Lucy picked up on immediately.


She'll wait 0.2 seconds for her echo's reply and then start again.


Today she was her normal crazy.  Up and down, up and down.  This book, that book.  Walk along the pew to the right.  Then to the left.  Then, quick! A getaway! Down the aisle before mom notices!  Then screaming when she's grabbed from behind and brought back to the rest of the boring, solemn worshippers near the Nash seats.

To intensify matters from any another other chaotic mass attendance, the Cathedral does not have air conditioning.  Or if it does, they choose not to run it in the main gathering area.  Whatever the case Lucy was as slick as a fish just out of water.  At one points she slowly brushed her forehead against my perfectly powdered cheek and I felt just like Ben Stiller in that basketball scene in Along Came Polly.

During the consecration I knelt and held Lucy facing me as she sat her bottom on the pew ledge in front of us.  She was not a fan.  She wanted to get D-O-W-N and she wanted to do it N-O-W.

For a split second, though, she was quiet and still when she spied the magnificent ceilings that make up the St. Paul Cathedral.  And then it was over.

"Wait, wait, wait!" I whispered with a great sense of urgency.  She looked at me, waiting.

" there a...puppy up there?!"

What are the physics required in that, she must have been wondering.  But she tilted her head back and stared at the ceiling anyway, searching for the puppy that I indicated might be up there.  Then she looked back at me.

"Is there...umm...a birdie up there?!"

Tilt head.  Stare.  Sheep?  Tilt head.  Stare.  Kitty cat?  Tilt head.  Stare.  Bunny rabbit? Tilt head. Stare.  And on and on until it was time for us to process to communion.

Every parent lets out a huge sigh of relief after they have received communion because they know the end is near.  Not that we're itching to get out of church so quickly, mind you, but rather so that we can relieve our embarrassment from our ill-behaved children.  No matter how well my kids behave I always walk out of church feeling a little ashamed, which is completely unwarranted because, in all fairness, the kids are only acting their age.

But, in truth, most parishioners and their tolerance levels surprise me.

"Your kids are so beautiful!"

"It's so great to see young families at mass on Sunday!"

And every once in a while: "Your kids are so polite and well-behaved!"

Today it was this, just outside on the Cathedral steps:

"Your daughter is so gorgeous.  And during the consecration she sat so still.  And did you notice how she was staring at the ceiling?  I think she could see angels!"

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