9.19.2011

For the Love of All that is Holy


I have mentioned before on my blog that I am a Mormon.


In the Mormon religion we partake of the Sacrament (pieces of bread and cups of water that symbolize the sacrifice made by the Savior for all of mankind to pay for our sins both on the cross and in the Garden of Gethsemane) every Sunday. This is the primary purpose for our main Sabbath Day meeting rather appropriately named “Sacrament Meeting”.

In a typical Sacrament Meeting this is how the Sacrament ordinance would go:

The young men line up near the Sacrament table. One young man sitting at the table blesses the bread with an established blessing. Then the lined up young men take the bread trays and disperse amongst the congregation passing the trays down the aisles in a reverent and organized manner.

The members of the congregation upon being passed the tray take a piece of bread, eat it, and pass the tray down to the next person, all the while pondering upon the Savior and taking the opportunity to renew baptismal covenants with humble hearts and clear minds. This process is repeated for the water.

It is a special opportunity to think of our Heavenly Father and Savior and to partake in the power of the Atonement. It SHOULD be a sacred, quiet, peaceful time where hearts and minds are focused and open to the whisperings of the Spirit.

And then there’s how the Sacrament goes for our family:

As the Sacrament prayers are being given Jeigh is turned around almost standing on the pew to look at the people behind us. Elle is yelling, asking where her elephant has gone. Dee is whining that he’s ready to go home. Never mind that we have been at church a whole of ten minutes. The baby is probably the best behaved out of all four children…

Until…the trays come by. Then she is squirming, twisting, and reaching to grab a hold of the trays as they come down our pew. As I wrestle her back with one arm and hold the tray steady with the other I feel as if I know what it must be like to be a calf wrangler.

She’s simply a curious baby and this wouldn’t be so bad if Dee wasn’t taking his sweet time figuring out exactly which tiny hunk of bread is destined for his tummy and eternal salvation. He likes to study the tray, wiggling the fingers on both hands in the air with the anticipation. Obviously it is crucial to get the RIGHT piece of bread as sometimes he grabs one and tosses it back after a moment of examination. If I weren’t holding a near screeching baby back I would grab one for him and shove it in his mouth, but this is wholly impossible. Instead I choose to cast him a dirty glance, dripping with maternal meaning. Finally he chooses the one piece of bread that is farthest from him requiring him to reach over and around the tray, nearly knocking the entire thing to the ground.

The three year old is much faster at picking her bread. But in her haste and hunger she usually grabs a good handful of bread instead of the one piece and crams it into her mouth before I can stop her. Maybe she’s hoping to be forgiven of extra sins.

As I pass the tray back and try to bow my head and close my eyes hoping to salvage some of the opportunity to commune with my Heavenly Father, a finger pokes my side. I look over at Dee who has chewed up his bread and spread it all over his teeth like a set of those cheap Halloween hillbilly teeth. I just stare at him unsure if I should puke or punish.

After the water tray comes and goes Jeigh is loudly swishing her reserved water through her teeth. The baby is happily kicking the hymn books against the pew in front of us. Elle is still in a dire and vocal search for her toy elephant. Dee is slumped over and sulking after being pinched with church appropriate chastisement. My husband Joe is rolling his eyes and muttering threats under his breath. I have broken out in to a sweat from embarrassment and effort at “helping” my children to learn how to behave appropriately during this sacred ordinance.

As the Bishop stands up to announce that the Sacrament is over I am feeling anything but Christ-like. Quite the opposite actually. Every Sunday I find myself wondering if the Sacrament still counts when you have visions of knocking a few heads together in the middle of it. Surely there is some kind of addendum to the Atonement for mothers of young children…

P.S. Of course I say this all very tongue-in-cheek. In my heart of hearts I KNOW it is important for my children to be at this meeting and learning about the Atonement and the Savior. I KNOW it is important for me to be there as well, knocking heads together or not (I kid, I kid. Kind of...) One day we will get this right. And in the meantime, we have been given the wonderful opportunity to repent, partake of the Sacrament, and try, try again.

6 comments:

Wonder Woman said...

Oh man. PLEASE tell me this is going to be a MMB guest post. I would imagine that most the mormon mommies can relate to this tale EXACTLY!!! I know I sure can! And your rendering of the experience is perfect. I am right there with you, seeing Dee's mushy bread in his teeth.

Perfectly written, and I empathize with you perfectly.

aubrey said...

Hahahaha! No kidding... I usually leave feeling like I got a lot out of church lately... only two more regular Sundays (General and Stake Conference sprinkled through) and Booger Head gets to go to nursery! WOOOOO HOOOO!

Cannwin said...

I got in a tug of war with the water tray once. Albowin wanted to pass it on, but he would have had to reach past three people to do so. So I tried to take it away from him and he started pulling back.

it was one of those moments when you know if you let go the other person is going to go flying backwards... except, you know, in the middle of sacrament--with the water tray in hand.

I remember trying not to laugh and cry in frustration and gently coax the tray out of his hands.

I've discovered a mom trick over the last few years of iron grips and stubborn kids.

If you grab the wrist and squeeze it makes the hand lose all it's strength. Very handy in a tight spot. (which is somewhere mom's quite frequently are).

Oh, and I used to use the phrase... 'For the love of all that is Holy!' all the time and then one day I realized that I was pretty much damning myself via every single religion out there. So now I only say it on special occasions. ;)

Nicole said...

Sigh. You just described, much more picturesquely than I ever could, our experience with church as well. I did a post a while back called "Maybe Someday We'll Like Sunday." I dread it.

Jodi said...

I can relate as this is my current woe as well! My girls are super good, Jonah is as naughty as they come and I'm at a loss as to how to help him. We've even practiced whispering and being reverent at home. He is so loud and the more I say shh, the louder he gets. If I praise him for being good that also backfires.

Dan sits up on the stand and watches as I fail miserably! Now with the baby, I can't really make going out NOT fun for Jonah. I used to make him sit on my lap in the mothers room until he wanted to go back in. Now he gets to walk (run) down the hall. Last Sunday he actually asked to go to "Time Out" in his loudest voice. He kept repeating it over and over again. "I want to go to time out!" Yes, I am the mother of the year!:)

Amy said...

HAhahahaha! You know what was almost as fun as reading your post? Reading the experiences in the comments! What a perfect topic to write about. Sundays are hard. I feel so guilty bribing my kids with the ipod. "If you just sit quietly through sacrament, you can play Angry Birds!" is said through clenched teeth every single sunday. Sigh.

The best part? Most other moms are going through the same thing, so they can't hear you and your kids. I sat by a family last week, and when it was over, I asked the mother how on earth she got her son to sit so quietly and reverently? Her jaw dropped, and she said she was going to ask me the same thing. We figured out that between the two of us being busy trying to get our kids to be quiet, the other looked like she had a perfect family. The grass is always greener, right?

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