Easier said than done.  

One day I was at my church. My son is four years old and prefers to be in the main service with me and I like it too. We sit far off to the side and in the back few rows. So I have an escape route incase today is the day that he decides to scream in church. Knock on wood, it hasn't happened yet. Thank goodness. But none-the-less we take a strategic position in church to not disrupt the main group. One such day, my son and I are there sitting on the floor as usual, he is coloring and asking random things like:

"Why did they go through a door?" In reference to what the service is talking about.

"Can I have my green color crayon?" He's coloring and half listening to service. 

He's pretty much adorable and pretty quiet, but again that is why we sit in the back so we can be as discrete as possible while still being part of the service. He tends to get lots of smiles from other guests, the occasional high-five or prayer. 

However on this fateful day a woman is sitting three rows ahead of us. Three-quarters of the way through service she aggressively lunges at my son and I sitting on the floor and says, "You need to leave you are ruining the service." 

I have to admit I was so caught off guard by this attack, and in church. I didn't know what to do. I just stared at her.

She says, "Now." And turns and goes back to her chair. 

I'm so taken-a-back that I move further to the corner with my son and I cry. I wish I could say I stuck up for myself and my son. I wish I could say that I said; "You need to pray for grace and please get away from my son." However I didn't. Instead I sat in the corner and cried. I thought about never coming back to church. I thought about how lame I was. I thought well lady perhaps you shouldn't be so late to church that you have to sit in the far back corner. I also must admit I was pretty angry with myself for not sticking up for us, but this is how I have made peace with it. 

1 With the strength of my friends who surrounded me with love and support. 

2 With the knowledge that this woman likely regrets her terrible and ungraceful choices. Hopefully she sent an apology up to heaven for her actions. 

3 Perhaps she is dealing with something I know nothing about and as much as she should have given me grace, I shall bestow it on her instead. 

4 And with the knowledge that I know my son belongs with me in church. He's smart and kind and brings smiles to so many peoples faces. He is truly sunshine on a cloudy day. And it is where he wants to be with me. 

So no matter if this woman found her own peace or she is oblivious to how rude and inappropriate she is, it doesn't matter to me. I know that my son and I didn't do anything wrong, that we were in the right place. We will likely never see her again, I will not let her change how I feel about myself, my son or my church, so she can fade into nothingness in my memories, and maybe . . . just maybe . . . she learned something that day too. 

 

 

2 Comments

  • I am so sorry this happened to you. It sounds to me like you’ve given this woman all the benefit of the doubt she deserves. Quite frankly, I don’t care what her circumstances are. Her actions were awful and inexcusable. And while I totally understand how you were shocked and caught off guard, where was the rest of the congregation who saw this happen? It certainly does take a village– we need to stand up for others when we see them so unfairly treated! If I were you, I’d consider going to the same service next week and sit front row center– where you and your son belong.

  • Have you had a conversation with the pastor or priest? Sometime, in person or on the phone, I will tell you one of my “church with the kids” stories. But the thing our priest did for us was stand before the whole congregation and say, “Children are welcome here. God put the wiggle in them, and it is not up to us to take it out.” I bet your pastor would be horrified by that woman’s treatment of you. No one should be bullied in a house of worship. Maybe give him/her the opportunity to set a different tone for the congregation so this doesn’t happen to you or someone else again?

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