World Missions Sunday
....one of my favorite services. The teens that will be going on mission trips proceed down the long church aisle carrying first the cross, then all our nations flags, with the missionary families following. The flags bow to the cross and then are placed in stands across the front. At the end of the service, teens carry boxes to each pew and collect the commitment cards and offerings of missions support and then place them at the feet of the missionary families. Then the teens reverse the flag ceremony to lead the missionary families out of the sanctuary.
This Sunday, my oldest was the cross bearer. I knew I would miss him in the early service because I would be carrying out my duties in the shadow program during the first service and the Sunday school hour. I told him to make sure he does it in the late service!! I did not want to miss Jack carrying the cross because he is a senior and this would be his last time participating, after 3 years of carrying a flag. I knew I would have little time, but I planned to leave my new special friend with her teachers for the last 5 minutes and then quickly get up to the balcony in time to see Jack enter the sanctuary. I would drink in another "last moment" in his teen life, as well as enjoy the true spirit of the World Mission service.
I need to leave but my little friend is having trouble with parents picking up the other kids. It is transition time. I am needed.
My friend is picked up by her family and I am free to walk briskly to the sanctuary.
I have now been stopped by several people with immediate needs and those needs are leading me further from the sanctuary.
I firmly tell my last stop, "I am sorry! I have to go! My son is carrying the cross!"
As I quickly walk toward the sanctuary, I hear the music and the congregation singing NOOOOOOOOOO! I am going to miss him! I break into a run, not a quick walk, not a half jog half walk, a complete run-with-heels-hittin-booty sprint. I don't even care that I am weaving in and out of the crowd of people that obviously had attended the early service. I dodge the elderly on walkers, I run through the bamboo decorations from the weekend Kids Mission Festival, I yell "sorry. sorry. excuse me." I run up stairs to reach the balcony and just before I push the door open, I realize....ohhhh noooo, this leads to the choir loft! Huffing and puffing I run back down those stairs and startle a passing young family with a frenzied yell, "where are the stairs to the balcony!!!!!!??" The lady laughs and calmly and slowly says, "w e l l n o w, m a r g a r e t, h o w l o n g h a v e y o u g o n e t o t h i s c h u r c h a n d y o u d o n ' t k n o w w h e r e.....WHERE ARE THE STAIRS!!!?", I cut her off and any mission-sunday-spirit I had been feeling left me completely. I bug my eyes at her husband. With a stunned and half-scared look, he points to the stairs around the corner.
I run up the stairs, hit one landing and run even faster, skipping steps....
I tripped and fell UP the stairs, with my large purse full of scissors, matching cards, and play-doh flying up to the ceiling.
I hear the same lady giggle behind me as I turn and breathy gasp, "shut up".
I arrived in the balcony as the last of the flags were headed to the front.
I was shaking from the run, aching from the blog worthy fall, and teary because I had missed it. I missed Jack.
I missed the wonderful feeling that the ceremony gives me. I missed it. I missed it.
Blinking back tears, I scanned the front to see where he had placed the cross. I couldn't find it. Trying to stop my heavy breathing, trying to keep from ugly crying, trying to ignore my hip that could possibly now be out of place, I slipped into the back pew. Disappointment covered me like a heavy blanket. What a loser mom!
Then I noticed the flags were stopping at the front and bowing.....BOWING! That's right! He doesn't place the cross in the stand until the end! I move out of the pew....
The young man standing in the middle of the stage was my Jack. He had been there the whole time. I not only missed him walking down the aisle, I missed him standing in front of the congregation because I was looking for baby Jack. What I found was a young man!
I watched him stand firm as the last flag bowed and passed by the cross. I watched as he walked down the steps and out of my view.
Sad that I did not get the morning that I had been anticipating all weekend, I grabbed up my bag and left the balcony. I hobbled to my car, with my bag sloshing. SIGH.... I forgot I put my coffee thermos in my bag....still full of the coffee I didn't drink due to the busy morning. It wasn't full now and my play-doh smells like a starbucks.
I drove home. I changed clothes. Then it hit me....CRAP! I could have stayed for the end. The procession out of the church.....and oh! no!....I didnt even stay to see Max perform his duties.
Then when my sons came home and walked in the door "did you see us?"
I cried again, as I said, "and this was your last time, Jack."
"It's ok, mom, next time I will be walking in as the missionary."
That just made me cry more.
I am so glad that my salvation and worth does not rest on work and ceremony!
Lift High The Cross- without it, I would be nothing
Last night, I stumbled upon my old blog that I had stupidly deleted in 2012. It is true that nothing is ever deleted on the internet!
still am looking for my original blog titled "Someday You Will Grow Into Your Nose".....or something like that. I had that in the early 2000's.
I cannot figure out how to link my current blog with the newly found old blog, or even import/export/recover the treasured memories, but I can link to it!
I chose a few of my favorite links, for your enjoyment. The last link is for the entire deleted blog. If you want something to do this weekend that is a bit more fun than experiencing the flu, then please read through my old blog (4 years and a couple hundred posts) and find the story about me unknowingly wrapping my purse strap around the steering wheel, while turning into traffic rendering my steering wheel useless......
There will be a great reward for you!
Enjoy a few of my memories below, or clean your toilets and rake leaves....same entertainment.
I live and work in a world of men. Many women do, but few are successful in understanding the dynamics. I was once told by a man at work there are 3 types of women in construction: the bitchy butches, the cutesy flirts, and the ones with brains that don't have a look (i think he meant they were nothing to look at). As he continued to tell his story, seemingly unaware that he was talking to a woman in construction, I listened without interruption. I could not pick out any of the three that would be a positive label, but I knew which one I would prefer. My left eyebrow was paused in the upright position, wondering three things: Does he realize I am a woman? If so, is he about to verbalize into which of the 3 types I fit? Am I going to take it personal and cause him physical pain?
Men are magnificent creatures.
Men are very forgiving and quick to forget.
Another human can have an emotional outburst, cause harm, or royally screw up. The man will instantly wear a look of confusion, possibly respond with an equal or greater emotional outburst, and then masterfully choose words and set his thoughts to eliminate the other human's situation and return to his interesting thoughts and pleasant feelings that had just been interrupted. Unfortunately, many women see this as the man ignoring their feelings. I ask these women, why do you want to discuss your feelings? I hear men's discussions with each other all day long:
-did you get that email?
-i just sent it as i was asking you if you got it.
-huh, that is odd. it isn't here, it isn't showing up, maybe something is wrong with the internet, are you sure you sent it to me? maybe, you.....oh, here it is. i just got it.
-why did you say that?
-that he is a better welder than me.
-quit being a girl.
Then they immediately made plans to go hunting together.
Men have a healthy self-esteem.
When you tell a man he is smart and/or is doing a good job, his immediate thought, as he instantly has a taller posture and wears his boyhood smile, is "I know. My gosh, she is right! I am better than any superhero in all the universe." When women are given the same compliment, they unfortunately have a different response, "ugh, I could have done that better. Is he secretly making fun of me? I bet everyone thinks I am stupid. I wish I had a better body, better hair, that I was smart and funny, and......"
Men want simple praise, interest and acknowledgment about their life's work, about what they do 18 hours of their day, about what makes him,HIM. Without trying, I get the best smiles from men. These smiles are genuine, pure, clean, innocent, satisfied smiles that warm me as I get a tender moment of seconds in a man's hard life. While looking at rebar, boards, concrete, dirt, pipes, I honestly say, "wow, this is looking great. you all are doing a good job." I am instantly given the best smile in the world attached to the words, "thank you". Women, you know what our response would be. We would answer with complaints and comments that are subconsciously seeking more approval and destroying the original and genuine compliment.
I was never told which of the 3 types of women in construction describe me. It has been 4 years since I slowly lowered my raised eyebrow, chose to ignore the girly "what are you trying to say" argument starter, and redirected the conversation to the job before us. I have been exhausted ever since, as I have learned that Men are simple and easy, and this makes it hard for me to be the woman that I am. The modern day Eve.
-Look at this! This can make me smarter, make you get off your ass, make me look better, make you listen, and make everything run smoother!
-huh? this? It's an apple.
I raise my mug with the exact sentiment I have every moment of every day, in every situation.
oh good grief, i love these men