sunday misadventures

Every parent knows the strange things that can happen on a Sunday morning that prevent you from getting out your door and into the doors of church.  

It’s a universal phenomenon.  

The baby spitting up moments after getting her sunday clothes on.  The preschooler who’s missing a shoe.  The school-age child who is buckled in the car, only to remember they forgot the baby bottle they’ve been collecting change in that is due back this very Sunday.

This Sunday surpassed our usual Sunday slow-downs.

It started with Elianna.  My 17-month-old’s nose started to drip blood out one side like a leaky faucet, just a I’m getting coats on the older two.   By the time I reached her, she had smeared it everywhere and looked like she came straight from Nightmare on Elm Street.

We made it to church on time, but were slowed by a lack of parking and long lines at the kids’ check-in.  When I sat down for the service, the announcements had just begun.  I’m thinking, not too bad.

After church, I herd the kids to the car by myself, because Tom had been to first service, having played on the worship team.  He left after he was done playing for second service to head home and shovel/salt the driveway for small group at our house later that night.  So it’s just the kids and me.

The kids are buckled and I hear Eliza push the lever to close the automatic sliding door on our minivan–not unusual, however, the sounds I heard upon the door latching were quite out of the ordinary.  Her screams still echo in my head as I write this.  

Her hand was shut in the door.  The 3-5 seconds it took me to find the button to re-open the door and free her hand were some of the longest in my life.  

I generally think of myself as cool under pressure.  But it took everything I had to contain the utter chaos I felt inside.  I wanted to scream for help and tear my clothes.  And I hadn’t even had my hand shut in the door!

So, I quickly find a friend who’s cell phone I can borrow to call Tom and tell him I’m heading for the ER, just certain that her hand is broken.  Her crying is still pretty intense and the hand looks ugly.  He agrees to meet me there.  But, after returning the cell phone and having my friend look at it, things didn’t seem quite so bad.

The crying slowed to an intermittent whimper and the hand was now bending and recognizable.  

After making an ice-pack with a plastic target bag and some handfuls of snow, we decide to go home.  At home, Tom is waiting anxiously for us in the garage.  He examines the hand and by now, it is swollen some, but moving well.  And Eliza is cheerful.

But wait, there’s more.

I begin cleaning and vacuuming for small group.  Pretty soon, Eliza comes upstairs saying, “There’s a big flood down there.”  I think, hmmm, maybe Tom overflowed the toilet.  Nope.  Eliza says, “It’s in the laundry room.  Daddy’s cleaning it up.”  

Turns out, Tom had turned the faucet on in our utility sink in the laundry room.  He was going to clean out our Bissel wet vac, which had been used the prior Sunday to clean up vomit (we were all sick), when he got the call about Eliza’s hand.  He had quickly forgotten the water in the sink during the mayhem of the moment.  Thankfully, he cleaned up the flooded laundry room, with no damage to the house.  

And here’s my confession.

When he told me that he’d forgotten about the water turned on in the sink, my first reply was, “Oh, you went to watch the game and forgot about it?”  Ouch.  Nothing like assuming the worst and being 100% wrong.  Well, I’m hoping for a very uneventful next Sunday.  And if I can’t get that, I’ll settle for a Sunday sans blood, mangled hands or floods.  

Do you have any Sunday stories?

wit, humor and sarcasm: a resolution for my generation (and me)

The saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” is not my generation’s motto.  I think ours is more along the lines of, “If it’s not witty, funny or bitingly sarcastic, keep it to yourself.”

I’m not sure why we’re like this.  Perhaps it is because millennials (I think that’s my generation… I’m 27, so if anyone knows for sure, please inform me) have basically had coddled life-experiences.  I’m speaking generally here, not wanting to minimize anyone’s significant painful experiences.  But, on the whole, we are unfamiliar with the serious traumas that other generations have faced.

Whatever the reason, here is what I find to be true about my generation (and myself).  We want to be clever.  And if we can’t be clever, we’ll settle for some sarcasm and a laugh.  We avoid saying simple truths outright, because they don’t sound clever or original enough.

This is trouble where the Gospel is concerned.  For one, the Gospel is a simple truth: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  We don’t sound smart when we say this; we sound converted.  Two, we may be more concerned about getting a laugh from someone (the ultimate sign of respect for us, albeit perverted), than we are with sharing the Gospel with them.  And if they are a fellow Christian, this is all the more true.  Why bother talking about Christ?  We are all Christians anyway, let’s just have a laugh.

But here’s some good news for the humor-hungry generation. Life is full of unmanufactured humor. We cannot avoid it. Kids overflow with it. No matter what our station in life, humor will be there. We need not promote its cause to an idolotrous place.  There is a time for everything under the sun: a time to laugh and a time to cry.  We don’t need to be funny all the time. Humor comes even when we aren’t creating it.

So let’s let the simple admonition of the Bible be our resolution concerning our speech.  It’s not clever… but it is original.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

James 3:9 With it [the tongue] we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing.  My brothers, this should not be so.

Col 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

1 Tim 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

The list could go on and on.  I need much work in this area.  I’m praying for a year of gracious speech in 2009.  Speech that isn’t afraid to be serious-minded and Gospel-centered.  And I’m sure I’ll have a few laughs along the way.