My children accompanied me to my second unprogrammed Quaker meeting on Sunday. I admit I was nervous. I wanted them to like it as much as I did, but I knew it would be a huge difference from the Catholic service they are used to. I was also fearful of how long they could be quiet. They are 5 and 8, girl and boy. They are great kids, but one hour of silence is a lot even for me.
I needn’t have feared, they were angels! Well beyond their norm actually. The problem was that I found it very difficult to concentrate. I kept opening one eye to see what they were doing. At one point, about 15 minutes into the silence my daughter leaned over and whispered to me “when is it going to start?” Imagine trying not to laugh at that?! I was very happy when someone got up to speak. For one thing it gave the kids something to listen to and it also helped me refocused even if only briefly on God.
Most kids don’t go to the meeting I realized. As a matter of fact, on this particular Sunday mine were the only ones there. I was politely offered to take them to First Day School several times. But I really wanted them there with me experiencing this new way of expressing faith. Forty-five minutes into their excruciatingly wonderful behavior I was ready for it to end. They were getting a little squirmy, although still quiet, and I was getting nowhere with my ability to focus. I thought, “oh well, maybe I can’t do this with the kids, maybe I can only focus in pure quiet.” I was quite sure God had not been able to get through to me this day.
Or had he?
I’m a divorced mom. I see my kids half as much as I would if I were still married to their father (see why I go to a catholic church for more on that). At the same time, I’m twice as happy so I guess it’s all a trade off. This hour of quiet solitude with my kids was a blessing.
I thought back to that hour and realized that what I had been thinking about was them. And not just to monitor their noise level. I reflected on how amazingly wonderful they were behaving, how lucky I was that God gave me two such beautiful souls to raise. These are blessings I don’t count often enough. And maybe that’s what God wanted me to do on Sunday – to renew my appreciation for my kids. And to let them know it. I don’t always tell them how wonderful I think they are. I made a point that day to express how much I loved them and how proud I was of them.
My son’s comment after the meeting was “that was a wired church mom.” I laughed out loud! Ok, so it will take them a while to get used to. But I am so happy that I shared it with them.