o Sunday Morning 5:20 a.m. The dad drifts back to sleep after getting up with the middle child who had a nosebleed. He had his mind set on getting up at 5:30 to read the Bible and pray. Now he’s convinced that without just a little more sleep he will perish.
o 7:52 a.m. The school age children are fighting because one of them woke up the other. The parents get up and yell at them both and notice what time it is. Then the parents both discuss who was supposed to get up first and start a special Sunday breakfast.
o 8:20 a.m. The toddler, who has been quiet all this time, has been cheerfully playing in the mess he filled his diaper with sometime last night. His sheets, bed, stuffed animals and body are all soiled. The dad runs a bath and the mom starts a load of laundry. Mom discovers the clothes she was planning on wearing to church balled up in the washer with several towels.
o 8:35 a.m. The dad feeds the children the last of the cold cereal but they are out of milk. The kids don’t mind the dry cereal except the younger school-aged who tries to use a spoon still because it’s his favorite spoon that he finally found outside yesterday in the sandbox.
o 8:45 a.m. None of the children can find a complete pair of shoes.
o 8:50 a.m. Church starts in 10 minutes and this is when they would be leaving. The kids are fighting. Mom is trying to fix her hair. Dad is saying to get in the car. One child is wearing mom’s bedroom slippers and the other has rubber boots. The toddler in his high chair has evacuated his bowels again.
o 8:55 a.m. The oldest child just blew the car horn and now the neighbor’s dog is barking. Mom quickly eats a Lunchable® while dad cleans and dresses the toddler.
o 9:00 a.m. The older children have made up a new song to the tune of “The Farmer in the Dell” but the only words are “we’re gonna be late for church.” Mom reminds dad that they’re late anyway and please drive carefully.
o 9:07 a.m. The children’s cheerful song as lapsed into crying as dad yells at them to be quiet. All three kids are crying. Dad hold his tongue at the classic muscle car in front of him that ought to be going 90 miles an hour by the look of it but instead is going 20.
o 9:09 a.m. The car in front pulls over to look at a house for sale. Dad pulls around and blows his horn. Mom rebukes him and reminds him that they have a fish decal and need to set a good example.
o 9:15 a.m. The car is parked at church. The mom is trying to calm the kids down. Dad looks for the diaper bag.
o 9:20 a.m. Most of the music is over. Mom and dad have dropped off all the kids at Sunday school and are relegated to the front row of church for being late. After the last song everyone is greeting and shaking hands. Dad sees the mom with a big friendly smile. The pastor steps up to shake his hand and the dad wonders if he washed his hands after changing toddler last time. When asked how he is he answers: “fine”.
It was never quite that bad. Some Sunday mornings were stressful. I can remember events that led me to believe that Sunday morning was The Devil’s favorite day to mess with folks to see if they would not get anything out of church. And I heard pastors agree with me. I won’t go into a discussion here about the nature of evil or its master. And I hope that the scenario above was at least a little humorous if not somewhat recognizable. I wanted to point something out with all of this.
We did have mornings where we sat in the parking lot and tried to get it all together. Once I was out of the minivan and amongst the church folks, there seemed to be this need to project an image that all was well and that we were a nice Christian family. It’s too bad that human nature seemed to compel that desire to put up a front. I think the only reason that we fooled anyone may have been that everyone else was too distracted putting up their own to notice others doing the same. Sometimes when we had a heart to heart talk with friends we learned something shocking: We were not the only ones to have mornings like that.
Having the kids older now has definitely taken the edge off Sunday mornings. I think it also helps, however to just be real. Maybe the fronts we put up can come down if we see that a lot of us have them. So if you see me sometime and I say I’m doing fine, you have my permission to not believe me. And please take that as a hint to be honest with me too.