I love going to church on Sunday mornings, although with a one year old it is difficult to always be present while there. As a single mom, I don't have any assistance when it comes to my son's care during church and, let me tell you, he requires a lot of care.
My son is not a child who sits quietly during church. He is so active that I am probably the only person who breaks out in a sweat during the service. As a matter of fact, I have spent most Sundays chasing my son in the foyer while Mass goes on in the sanctuary.
We have missed Mass the last two weeks. Two weeks ago my son slept in and I wasn't going to wake him. Last week we were out of town.
I decided that Mass this week would be different. My son and I had a little come to Jesus meeting before we headed to church this morning. I explained proper Mass behavior and my expectations. I knew he didn't understand everything I said, but I knew he got the gist of it. I was determined that we would stay in the sanctuary during the entire service.
Internally I had decided that if I had to take him out of the sanctuary we would go immediately home and he would spend some time in his crib. I didn't tell him about this though because I knew I would have to follow through and I wanted to be able to play it by ear.
When we got to Mass, I put him in the pew and the rest is history. Just kidding!
He squirmed as much as ever. He was up. He was down. He tried to climb over the back of the pew. He squirmed and tried to get out of my arms. He squirmed and tried to get out of my lap. But moment by moment we made it through.
I secretly celebrated as we hit each milestone. We made it to the first reading. We were actually in the sanctuary for the homily. We made it to the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Time to kneel. Yikes! I hadn't thought about how to handle that one. I ended up just having my son stand next to me on the kneeler and it worked for the most part. I did have to sit down with him at one point, but at least we were still in the sanctuary.
By the time we got to The Lord's Prayer I was completely exhausted. I knew we were getting close to the end, but I wasn't sure if either of us could make it.
Right before the Sign of the Peace my son, who is not a hugger or a cuddler, decided to hug me tighter and longer than he ever has in his 16 months.
After the initial shock wore off, I melted into him and hugged him tightly back. Tears came to my eyes and I knew this was a moment I would never forget.
In that moment it was not only my son's love that was palpable, but God's love was palpable in that moment as well. I felt a sense of peace come over me. Peace like I have never felt. Through my son, God was telling me that I was loved, that I was doing fine, and that all my work is, in fact, worth it.
We both made it through the entire service and this week I left with a renewed sense of self and a renewed sense of purpose.
Lord, thank You for giving me a sense of peace that only You can.