Take Me to Church

My son is going through some things right now.

He wanted me to take him to church. I’d checked for church times at the church closest to us. The latest was 11:00. He wanted to go and he wanted me to wake him up.

I got up, made coffee, showered, dressed. I woke him up and said “church in an hour.”

He didn’t get up. I waited 10 minutes. Again, I said, “church in an hour. You still want to go, right?”

He nodded and grunted, yes. He still wanted to go.

I told him it was time to get up or be late. He came downstairs and told me, “Noah did a bad thing.” He held up his jeans so I could see our Addison’s dog, Noah, had peed on his jeans.

Hunter asked me to throw them in the dryer, and I said, “I’m not going to let you walk around in dog pee jeans. Prairie Heights has a service at 4:00. I’ll wash your jeans and we’ll do all the things we need to do when they’re clean.”

His jeans were dry shortly after 12:00. I told him we’re not going to have time to do everything he wants to do before he has to go home with dad. He showered, put on his clean jeans, and we went.

We walked around the mall for new glasses. For new frames. He had an eye exam with the step mom and had the prescription. We found him new frames. It was 2:30 before we were done.

We went to Verizon in West Fargo after because his dad had also taken away his phone and told me I needed to block things if he were to get his phone back. We went. They closed at 4:00. We got done at Verizon at about 3:00. I asked, “are you going to play the drums this weekend?”

He said, “yes, but they check my screen time every night. Will you tell them it was listening to music and that’s why my screen time is higher?”

I said, “yes. And if you need me to, I will explain all of your screen time.”

He went downstairs and played drums by ear. That’s how he does it. He listens to the song and he plays along. Apparently, that’s witchcraft to people that don’t understand.

While he was playing drums, I changed all his permissions on his phone in hopes his dad would allow him to use it again—to talk to me, to look at Facebook, to find support.

It was 3:38 and I texted him, “time for church if you still want to go.”

He came upstairs and again, asked me to explain why he was on his phone to his stepmom because she checks his screen time. I assured him I would. I said, “are you sure you want to go to church?”

He nodded his head and we left.

We went to church and I was more afraid than he was. Church had been wonderful until it wasn’t for me. There came a time when church was filled with judgment.

We walked in and an usher asked if we’d like to sit in the front. I looked at Hunter and he shook his head no. She told us there was plenty of room in the back, so I lead him to a more comfortable place.

There was a live band and music as we took our seats, and Hunter knew one of the musicians and felt safe there. This was not like any church I’d been to.

I’d grown up in a wonderful church where a pastor only spoke of love and forgiveness. I’d tried and failed to find a church like that since.

I had since gone to college and learned and continued to learn that church was a place of hatred. Religion teaches people who to hate and why. I’d never found a church that believed in loving everyone and forgiving and welcoming everyone as I’d always believed it should be.

I became Buddhist. Buddhism is more a philosophy than a religion. It doesn’t tell anyone they don’t belong. It’s about seeking peace and finding love and living an authentic life. That spoke to me in a world of misguided Christianity. I have a tremendous amount of love in my heart and the more I heard about Christianity and those that claimed to be Christian, the more I avoided it

And I wouldn’t let my child go into that. There is indoctrination, where you give a child no choice and you tell them what they believe. There is acceptance, where you accept and love what others believe.

I was concerned about taking my son to church. Religion should not tell you what to think about others. It should not allow you to judge others. It should bring you closer to knowing yourself. It should allow you freedom to love and forgive yourself and all others.

The sermon was not much of a telling to as much as a talking with.

It was free counseling and analyzing a great work of literature. The word of the day was, “insecure.”

I got something out of it. Hunter got bored until the video was shown. The video was of a grown man who’d been raised in a home where the dad worked for the railroad and was never home. My ex-husband worked for the railroad and was never home. He’d grown up in a broken home and got married, had 2 kids, and ended up gone all the time to make the almighty dollar. His mother came to stay and asked where they might go to church as it was Easter Sunday. He’d looked online on Easter morning and had gone to this church because it was closest. There were many things he talked about in that video; about losing everything because he didn’t understand what was important. And, it wasn’t about turning your life over to God or Christ, it was about finding what God wants of you.

My son, after the service was over, said he wanted to talk to that guy, Brian. Something in his story had resonated with him.

I said, “then, you should talk to him.”

And we walked back into the church and waited for Brian to be available. He was quite popular after he’d just allowed the story of his life to be broadcast.

As we were waiting, someone we knew through Hunter’s music lessons was walking out. He said, “Hey Hunter! How are you doing? Do you come here a lot?” Hunter and I both shook our heads, “no.” I said, “first time.”

And he said, “it’s great to see you here.” Hunter told him he really related to Brian’s story and told him the similarities. And Bryce said, “you should talk to him.” And I said, “the pastor said there’s a reason you showed up here today. I believe he’s right.” And then Bryce gave Hunter a high five and me a high five.

I waited until the people left Brian and then I pulled Hunter in. I introduced myself as his mom and told him that Hunter would like to talk to him and then I stepped aside

I did not look, but I had tears in my eyes. When I looked, I saw them talking. My asperger’s, magical, amazing boy talking to this stranger. And then I saw them hug.

And my son felt good and I was proud. I was proud that my son felt so strongly, he wanted to speak to someone. I was proud that my son, who never felt a sense of belonging or fitting in, felt like he could talk to someone there.

And the weird thing is, I felt like I belonged there too.

We’ll go again.

What I got out of church today:

There is a plan for you. The more you fight and deny it, the more you are denying your gift (God’s Love). To deny your purpose, is to deny God.

Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of judgment from anyone other than God, is the wrong kind of fear.

Fear denying your purpose and your gift.

God isn’t a secret ruler that lives in the sky. God is inside of you. You are in charge of yourself and God is a metaphor for what and who you are. Your soul is what makes you, you.

Jesus? God? It’s all inside of you.

My grandma used to tell me to pray for Jesus to come into my heart and lead me to the best place. I took that literally.

The worst fear of the best writers—-don’t take it literally.

It’s morality written in an amazing way that speaks to people. It’s not about burning in hell (except in your own mind), it’s not about an eternity in paradise.

The great work of literature was written and rewritten by small men living in fear from all that is different. Originally, it was written with strong and amazing stories of faith, love, forgiveness, and how to live. There is no magical wonderland in the sky. The magical wonderland is finding who you are now and what your purpose is.

Don’t tell me I need Jesus. 😉

It’s here and now.

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