Sunday morning dawned bright and clear, with only a slight autumn chill to the air. My husband rolled out of bed when the wee ones stumbled into our room requesting “cereal with milk” and a movie. I sighed, snuggled under the quilt and fell back to sleep. I love my husband! Soon I dragged myself out of bed and started the Sunday morning routine.
We left for church early, hoping to stake out a spot for the first hour of church. Not in one of the pews, but on the sofas in the lobby. Why???? You may ask? To be more comfortable? Well, not in the normal sense of comfort. Gavin has no filter. If he is playing with a car he makes those noises, and loudly. If he colors, he talks about his picture. If he gets annoyed with his sister he lets the entire world know. Reverence during the Sacrament Meeting is important. It is during this time that we partake of the Sacrament to remember the sacrifice Christ made for us, and to remember our covenants to always remember him and keep his commandments. After the bread and water is passed out to everyone we get the privilege of listening to several talks by members of the congregation prepared on a specific topic. As each sound comes from my son I feel it reverberate in my chest. I begin to feel anxious and it is hard to breath. I feel the weight of nonexistent stares (I know some people may look at us, but I imagine the entire congregation staring) and imagine the derogatory thoughts that really are not going through peoples minds “Why can’t she keep her kid silent.”
Why do I say these are imagined? Because I’ve made self deprecating comments in the past to others and they say “I didn’t even hear him.” Or I get, “Yes, but we know Gavin blah, blah, blah.” I know in my heart of hearts that no one is judging me, but I can’t get passed that feeling of “I know I should be doing something better. I should put this ABA technique into practice, I can be doing XYZ” I am filled with doubts, fear, anxiety. The worst part is that the thought “Why am I even here?” creeps into my head. Why do I go to church? Am I getting anything out of being there? When is the last time I felt the spirit whisper truth and comfort to my troubled soul?
At one point it was my turn to trudge around the perimeter of the building with Gavin. I looked at the beautiful shade of red in the trees as autumn finally settles into the air. I watched my son as he rushed to the door. “Come on, Mommy lets go back to church!.” HE WANTED TO BE THERE!!!! It was then that comfort and truth was whispered to my troubled soul.
It hit me that while I had Gavin doing bear crawls and crab walks, my husband listened to someone share their love for Jesus Christ. He felt that persons love seep into him, and a sense of renewal entered his heart preparing him for the coming week. While it was his turn to walk off Chase’s excess energy my daughter crawled into my lap and together we listened. These words spoke to my soul “The Lord really is hastening His work and that He has specific people in mind for YOU to love and befriend.”
Why was I at church? To remind myself to think of others, and not just myself. When I am busy thinking about how I can be a better friend, mother, wife, sister, daughter I get all tangled up in my emotions and I shut down. When I am busy being a friend, playing princess with my daughter, gently rocking my overstimulated son, holding my husbands hand, talking to my siblings and my mother on the phone – then I am able to break free of those imprisoning thoughts and feelings. I am free.
Next Sunday I have a plan. I will survive Sunday! I need to to take a deep breath and remember that my son is not impairing others ability to worship – as I sometimes worry – but I am providing him, my daughter, my husband and myself another opportunity to feel the love of Christ and our Heavenly Father. I will remember that Gavin will struggle during church because of a plethora of reasons – but in the end he wants to be there and so do I.