Last Saturday Pastor Bud was preaching for Pastor Jason. He was helping us see the importance and beauty of worship, including families worshiping together in church.
Paul, however, was determined to have his say as well. So Dianne moved away from where we were sitting to lessen the disturbance he was making. That isn’t too unusual for us.
(I must pause here and give a shout-out to my church and their training of their volunteers. We don’t normally attend on Saturdays, so we aren’t as well known to the regular Saturday attenders. A young woman who was serving as a greeter/usher approached me after Dianne made the shift to let me know that Paul was very welcome where we were sitting and not to worry about it. That felt good!)
But Paul was unusually ‘gifted’ in volume this evening! As Paul’s volume rose Dianne felt the need for another solution.
So she put him in a closet.
Before you call child welfare on us, this is a large coat closet at the back of the commons area that, being summer, wasn’t being used. Dianne could sit where she could see Paul and where she could hear the sermon, but Paul’s vocalizing was significantly muted. He was perfectly safe and she was MUCH more comfortable.
As she exited the closet, Pastor Bud was just getting to his point about restless children sometimes needing to be taken from the sanctuary, and he allowed that it isn’t always clear when this is the best thing to do. Dianne thought to herself, nor is it clear when it is best to put the boy in the closet!
She tells the story much better than I can write it! I was laughing so hard when she told me after the service that tears came to my eyes. We caught up with Pastor Bud and his wife, Lisa, after the service and told them the story. They enjoyed it as well.
You might be thinking, was this really the best solution? There are usually many different ways to handle a situation like that; there were other options. But in the moment that wasn’t too bad!
I appreciate that God has created the kind of culture at Bethlehem where behavioral expectations for children can be articulated and parents can be both exhorted and encouraged in their roles. Yet when one of God’s unusually-created human beings shows up, we have the grace (and the space) to welcome them and to let parents do some creative things outside of the norm, sometimes on the fly.
Not perfectly, of course. But on this particular evening we went home a happy family, well served by our Pastor Bud and by our church, and grateful to God for his unusual help with a very noisy boy.