Things didn’t go well this morning when we took you to the church nursery for the first time.
Mommy checked you in, and the crying started just a few minutes later.
You were just fine – but daddy couldn’t bear to let you go. You started playing the second mommy put you down. Daddy started getting teary-eyed as soon as you were out of sight. Daddy only lasted about three minutes before we had to go get you.
We waited nearly a year to have you with us, and although you turned seven months old yesterday, after being with us for just three months and a week; I can’t yet stand to let you go.
So, you came back to the sanctuary with us, and after we welcomed home our pastor (who has been on sabbatical for as long as you’ve been with us), I took you back down to the nursery. And stayed there.
I watched from the ‘guest area’ in the baby nursery as you played with toys and crawled around, and repeatedly tried to gum the face of a five month-old. After a half hour, I left you in the nursery and returned to the sanctuary for communion. After communion, I went back down to the nursery to get you as the service ended.
Mommy has worked in a church nursery, and she knows that it’s best for you, and for the nursery workers, for you to be in the nursery as young as possible, so that you get used to it. I guess you’ll get used to it a lot sooner than I will.
Many people at church this morning asked about you . . . they wanted to know if there was progress and how you were doing. (After church, we learned that the county social worker met with YOUR case worker last week, and we are to expect a phone call in a few days.)
People at church we haven’t met before told us they were praying for you. And mommy and daddy were mentioned in the bulletin, so even more people will be praying for us, and for you.
While I was standing in the hall before the service, a woman I’ve known for six or seven years handed me a pretty gift bag.
“What’s this,” I asked.
“It’s for your daughter,” she said.
For your daughter.
It’s for you.
She knitted this for you.
It’s large enough for you to wear it in the fall, when it gets cooler. I put it in your dresser, where it’s waiting for you.
Mommy and Daddy have been waiting for you since before you were born. And our families have been waiting for you since Christmas time. And now our new church is also waiting for you. And we are all praying for you.
Do you feel prayed for?
What a wonderful baby you are . . . you don’t cry or fuss, you just watch what’s going on around you . . . until it’s time to eat or change a diaper. And even then, you just get squirmy and fussy, you hardly ever cry.
The woman taking care of you called her state representative today, trying to get your social worker to make progress.
Sunday, mommy and I joined a new church, and told all the people there all about you, and asked them to pray for you and for the family taking care of you, and for your social worker and all the social services staff.
I went to church last night – the Maundy Thursday service. That’s when we remember the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples. Mommy and I had been in the same church Ash Wednesday, 44 days earlier.
On Ash Wednesday, I sat there thinking, “we’ll have her with us when we come back Easter.”
Last night, I was in the same pew facing the fact that you won’t be with us Easter. After 44 days of waiting, and looking forward to seeing you, and 44 days of your social worker doing nearly nothing, we still don’t have you.
I’ve had many emotional experiences at this church, and last night was really tough. All types of emotions swirled through me at the same time. Memories of past sadnesses and present loneliness because you and your mommy are so far away. I also had feelings of love and joy and optimism thinking about the time we will spend together in the future. The family we’ll be together, and the family we’ll share at this church.
All of these emotions overcame me last night because the emotions are connected, good and bad, happy and sad, all overlapping like hands and fingers interlocking in prayer. Tears of joy mixed with tears of sadness.
The emotions were connected just as we’re all connected by the Spirit of the Creator moving across creation. The breath of the Lord moves across creation, across the sweaty face of Jesus, across me in the church pew, and across your delicate skin as your mommy holds you.
After visiting this church off and on over the past seven years, I told the minister that mommy and I intend to join the church on Easter.
“Welcome home,” he said.