Everywhere Church

We made it. Out the door close to 9:30 a.m. On schedule for a 10 a.m. arrival. But then we got talking about turkey tacos with tomatillo-cranberry salsa and missed our exit. Finding our way back proved trickier than we thought (how is it that one road can have three names?) so by the time we walked into the church, we were 15 minutes late. Again.

I tried not to get anxious while we were tracking and backtracking our way back to the missed highway, but my guts tightened up all the same. I’ve written before about how difficult it is just to get to church, let alone anywhere near on time. So when I get anxious, I tend to take it out on other people. I get irritable. I snap and say mean, rather belittling things. Living with John has shown me the effect of this on a person, how it’s something that needs changing. But first accept, which means recognize.

John took it in stride. Said I needed to get into the “cosmic flow” of things—or something like that. Said he had always wanted to explore this part of Ohio anyway. Even though the sad, falling apart houses and lots full of rusting machinery and trailers (minus any tractor to move them places) was depressing. Especially with winter edging in on us between the barren trees and overcast sky.

He said, “Church is everywhere Jenny. It’s going on right now, even without us there. Don’t you see the angels singing in the clouds?” I must mention two things here: 1) Only John and my Grandpa get to call me Jenny, and 2) John was serious but also tongue-in-cheek, as he is with almost everything he says. Jonah piped up, saying, “Where? Where are the angels in the clouds?”

We arrived, not having missed much after all (though I’d like to make it in time once to hear, so that I can learn, the troparion for St. Nicholas). Gabriel ran into the sanctuary shouting “Ammer! Nails!”—as we passed the sepulcher on our way to light a candle. Short explanation here: there’s a tomb-like box that looks like a big rock with a representation of the hammer and nails used to crucify Jesus as well as a skull and cross bones (representing death) that J and G are fascinated by. Big tourist attraction for them at the moment.

Having seated ourselves for the briefest of moments, Gabriel was off like a shot to the nursery. Jonah wanted to follow, but we’re working on staying in church a little longer. Some days I don’t know why, and it seems silly that I’m pushing this on J, but I think he’s capable. At some point he used the ‘ol I have to go to the bathroom excuse to get himself in closer proximity to the nursery, the better to wear us down with his insistent, “But I want to stay in the nursery. But I want to stay in the nursery. But I want to stay in the nursery. But I want to stay in the nursery…” You get the point.

All that to say, J’s the one who seems to get the point today, the point John’s been trying to make anyway. Because upon entering the nursery to say “hi” to John and Gabriel—upon being told that he needed to go back into church—he issued his own polemic: “But the nursery IS the church! It’s inside the church! The nursery IS the church! The church is everywhere! I am in the church!”

Sure, this may (mostly) be his literalism coming through, but he certainly picked up on John’s previous comments in the car. Quite cleverly, I might add, and working to personal advantage. Who’s to say he doesn’t get it? Certainly better than I.

One thought on “Everywhere Church

  1. This is really good, Jen. If I said more it would be borderline gushing; I’ve visited here a few times, and each time I’m glad I took the time.
    Was a joy seeing John last month. Y’all are good people.

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