We’ve been nomads at church.
For the most part we’ve avoided the this-is-our-pew (or in our case, our-set-of-interlocking-church-chairs) and we’ve roamed the building. Sometimes choosing the east corner, sometimes the west, and on occasion, even sitting in the middle. We lean toward the outer flanks though, and of late we’ve been choosing the same row on a fairly regular basis.
It’s the back row on the far side of the building, which might sound like we are there in order to disengage or to secretly be able to Facebook on our iPhones during the sermon or that we are fringe members who need to be brought back into the fold. Or something.
But really, we just kind of like it there.
The boys started it. They sat there with their friends a few times, but the friends moved away or quit coming or sat elsewhere until soon it was just my sons and we sat with them one day.
And we liked it.
It offered a good view of the pulpit and the screen – a better view than on the other side of the building – and it provided easy access with minimal disruption for a boy who seems to need to visit the bathroom at least once during the Sunday morning service. But really, I’m fond of this spot for other reasons.
It just so happens that many of the families with young children sit in the rows ahead of ours, and can I just say church has never been so entertaining. We have a great view of all these sweet things and their many antics, and the wiggling and whispering and colouring and even the fussing, it’s just wonderful. The babies waking and smiling back at us from their perches on their daddies’ shoulders, and the toddlers sharing fishy crackers with us, and the moms’ treks back and forth to the nursery with all that baby luggage in tow.
And we get to see the stuff the moms and dads miss. The little pokes between siblings, and the picking up and eating of food from off the floor, and the nose-picking, and the faces made back at my husband who is making faces at them.
It’s all very sweet.
Then I look across the aisle to my left and there they are. The white-haired faithful, in wheelchairs and bearing walkers or canes, sitting through the standing-up-hymns and occasionally nodding off during the sermon. Most still coupled but some on their own now. It’s obvious that age has made hard work out of the simplest of things and yet they come.
And way across the room in the other corner I see my friend with her family and I smile as we begin a new hymn and she raises her arm – Statue of Liberty like, I think – and it fits her story. The liberation she has experienced and the freedom in which she chooses to live each day, and I applaud her heaven-raised arms.
It’s a good view from where we sit, this far back corner of the room. We’ll enjoy it for a while but I’m sure we will move on eventually. Our boys will leave or one day someone will sit there first and we’ll try out a new spot with new neighbours and new faces at which to smile and the view will be just fine.