Sunday, May 25, 2008

rite of passage


this morning, as i lounged with coffee and caught up on some essential reading, i found these words by dear amy. if you have not already visited her corner of momentary madness, please let this link lead you there. amy has this way with words. she really got me this morning.

jack served an acolyte for the first time in church today. (An acolyte can assist in worship by carrying a processional cross, lighting candles, holding the Gospel book, holding candles or "torches", assisting a deacon or priest set up and clean up at the altar, swing incense or carry the incense boat, hand the offering plates to ushers, and many other tasks as seen fit by the priest or acolyte warden. - from wikipedia) in our Epispocal church, acolytes are typically at least 10 years old. they have recently extended that responsibility to 7 - 8 - and 9 - year olds. jack jumped at the chance to attend acolyte dinners/training, and i was thrilled that he was interested. we have, together, battled an apathy regarding Sunday School this year. he was so keen on taking on this new responsibility, yet i prepared myself for this first Sunday, this first opportunity for him to shy away from his commitment. but this day dawned and he was calm and focused, ready to assume his new role.

(i love this photo of my dad's hand guiding jack.)

jack's responsibilities included carrying a cross in during the processional, holding the Gospel during the reading, carrying the cross back out. oh, and of course, sitting still for an hour and 15 minutes. ah, amy, there was plenty of opportunity for that sky-high enthusiasm to be curbed. i *calmly* took my seat during Prelude and Fugue in C (who doesn't love a good Fugue first thing in the morning?!?) and ran through the service in my mind. or, rather, i ran through the opportunities for mistakes. i glanced back to see him lining up with the clergy, and the first leaden lump rose in my own throat. my little boy. taking his place among so many others before him (myself included.)

amy's words took hold. from this point forward, there was nothing i would be able to do ensure that jack would remember everything. that he would remember to stand in the right places. that he would, please-oh-please, hold the Gospel steady during the reading.

(jack and grampie, prior to the service.)

the Gospel for today was Matthew 6:24-34. the entire lesson is one of my favorites. and despite the fact that i often collapse into totally inappropriate giggles when they read "consider the lilies..." (thank YOU, monty python), i remained pious as jack tried in vain to hold the heavy Gospel steady. i'm sure the lector had to resist reaching out and holding the book himself. but they survived it, the two of them. and so did i.

i was a nervous wreck. and can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? of course, the answer is no. and i'm left reminded that this wasn't really about me, after all. of course, i will need to be reminded of this again.

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Neighbor Jane Payne said...

What a great day for both of you, Lelly. I'm glad it started AND ended positively! I loved this line, "and despite the fact that i often collapse into totally inappropriate giggles when they read "consider the lilies..." (thank YOU, monty python), i remained pious as jack tried in vain to hold the heavy Gospel steady."

linda said...

Looks like YOU and Jack survived his first day assisting in worship...times like these are so wonderful to experience, yet stomach turning as well. The woes of being a parent.

I love the picture of Grampie and Jack!

The monkey bunch said...

wonderful! This week, I worried about all the things I could and couldn't do and how they would affect my children's entire lives. but really there is nothing you can do when they take those steps away from you except pray that they do their best. Sounds like Jack did his best!

Becky said...

Lelly--what a great post about such a special day!

It's one of the ironies of being a mother that we invest so much into our children for the sole purpose of watching them learn to do without us :)

The photo of Jack with your dad is so sweet....

michelle said...

This is wonderful! I love the photos of the two of them together, what a lovely opportunity.

Alisha said...

Ahhh . . . what a great moment. I'm glad you blogged about it. What a neat connection with your dad (grampie) too. Jack is a lucky boy to be a part of such a meaningful, multi-generational tradition of worship.

wende said...

...consider the lilies! you're so funny lelly!

what a great post and what a great sunday for you both! the best part about motherhood i think, is coming to that realization that even when they do make mistakes (although it sounds like he did just great!) is that they're small and cute and that is a great "excusable" combination!

go jack!

Natasha said...

I am seriously impressed with Jack. I had to be eleven before I could be an acolyte and as far as I know our church still makes you wait. I cannot picture my 7 year old Luci as an acolyte yet but will be so proud one day when she is!

Amy said...

Oh Lelly...isn't it interesting how *growing pains* of a child are magnified in the parents. I could feel your fretting here, when Jack was probably taking it all much more calmly...not knowing all the pitfalls & possibilities. I never, never knew what my parents suffered *for* me growing up. It's an eye-opener, for sure. And makes me wonder what else my eyes will finally See as I delve further & further into life & parenting.

I LOVE the picture of your dad's hand on Jack's back, too. What a sweet Sunday you must have had. After the turmoil, of course. Your baby is definitely growing up!

Burgess' Intermountain Martial Arts said...

Thank you for sharing such a special and sacred day. I appreciated you explaining what his duties intaled.
I don't know if there is anything more special than watching our children walk in the light of Christ.
Thanks again for sharing

Emmanuelle said...

This is such a special and great day for both of you.
I love the picture where they are together