Enlightened My @$$!

Whenever someone asks my Religion, I describe myself as a Zen-Buddhist-Catholic (my apologies if any of those are offended) but I do.  My vehicle is Catholicism, and my faith and its rituals has me deeply rooted within Spirit.  Having said that, I am also utterly open to the messages from My Divine … in whatever philosophy that might appear in, but all of that unpacking is for another blog.  This blog is about how I fell off my Enlightenment Pony in church (nog al), during mass, 5 rows from the front and oh boy, did I do it properly!  Let me set the scene …

Our youngest daughter, who is 8, is another wonderful high energy human being.  She is a wonderful child, very loving, observant, affectionate, she thinks outside of the box, she has a joyful thirst for life, she is clever and an absolute charmer.

We drove off to mass and right at the front door, I got my first message … I noticed she did something a little more peculiar (than normal) the alarms where going in my head.  Right then and there I should have gathered up my babies (13 & 8) and turned around and gone back home, but noooooo, not me … persevere I must.

We find our usual pew (5 rows from the front) right next to Juniors God-Mother, fortunately a good friend of ours, who has grown children of her own and we are surrounded by other folks that have watched Junior grow (which is code for they know her … fortunately!).  Mass starts and the crazy revs.  Junior starts loudly flicking through the hymnals (we don’t need them, we have all the words up on a screen).  At the moment, Junior and I are working on a particular life-skill, which is learning to sit still (a time and place for everything) so I quietly whisper in her ear “Leave the books alone, we don’t need them”.  Ok, books are down, let’s find something else.  Pews are interesting pieces of climbing apparatus, so first up on the chair, jumping down on the floor, dancing along the kneeling bench like she was about to enter the Olympics … triumphant dismount and all.  Again I whisper in her ear, “please don’t do that, you are disturbing the people around you”.  Deep breath … it will all be ok!  I return to the service.  Then we settled in for the homily, I learned very early to distract her, so I tickle her through the homily (tickling has the same effect on Junior as it does on Trout – Google it) because face it, it is difficult for a little person to keep still for 15 – 20 minutes of very grown up words and lessons – I get that!  For a short while, there is stillness … I can breathe.

The homily ends, we hit the Creed and Junior takes it up a notch … if I had not been right next to her I honestly wouldn’t have believed it.  For what unfolded next to me blew my mind (and not in a good way) … as Collection is being taken up my youngest starts her best and most elaborate chicken interpretive dancing impression, together with clucking.  I look down at her and quietly with a tone that would have stopped Ivan The Terrible “what on frikken earth are you doing?” … she is silenced and halts … for a moment … until I look away … only to start-up a millisecond later with said chicken interpretive dance routine again but this time in silence.  Because obviously I wasn’t clear that neither the clucking nor interpretive dance should be done in the middle of mass.  I close my eyes and carefully weigh up my options:  1.  We could leave (she wins), 2.  I could dispense one short sharp smack that would hopefully send a clear message (she would get sympathy and I would look like a terrible mother … that, and you can’t hit your kid in church – wrong on so many levels), 3.  I can continue to negotiation with her, a tack I normally never do but this is my spiritual place of sanctuary damn it … I am here for connection!  Reluctantly, I continue to try that.  Thank heavens a hymn starts up (together with drums) where I can quietly hiss into my child’s ear, that this is not acceptable behaviour for mass, which she knows, and to please cease and desist all of this truly odd behaviour, which she has NEVER done before – in or out of church.  Ok … I am gulping at air and clawing at my crystal rubbed forehead, begging for Divine Help.  “Lord please give me patience” I grit out through clenched teeth, “because if you give me strength, I will need bail money too!”  The dance stops … only to be replaced with the head and neck exercises, together with facial gestures – I kid you not – like something that escaped from a mental institution.  Oh and did I mention that my poor other child (13) sitting on the other side of me, has been fighting off a cold and so she has a blocked nose and proceeds to breathe LOUDLY through her mouth like Chewbacca from Star Wars, did I mention LOUDLY (they could hear her in the Vatican), while all of this craziness is happening to my left.  It’s a cacophony to my right - I tell you!  I’m trying to pray people!!!!

Back to the head and neck exercises … I’m going to leather the hide off her!  She is messing with me and I know it!  Junior believes I will not follow through (even though I always do) I calmly (too calmly) look down at her, the 3 grown-ups behind us flinch and Juniors God-Mother now gets out of arm’s length.  I stare Junior down (I’m losing ground by the second and I know that too) … did I mention we were 5 rows from the front. 

The most sacred part of mass starts and Junior decides that her being on the other side of her God-Mother is safer, so she not so quietly sidles around the back of her God-Mother to be out of my reach (and sight).  FINE!  I think, closing my eyes, I can’t even remember why I am at mass and I’m praying for … what on earth am I praying for?  I know she is safe with her God-Mother.  I go for communion.  Junior goes up for a blessing with her God-Mother.  Junior thinks she has outsmarted me and tries to sit far away from me.  I collect her (probably too forcefully) and let her know, in no uncertain terms, that this was unacceptable … the dramatic moment … cue the violins … Junior realizes she has gone too far and the tears start.  I feel feathers!  And it was all a blur after that.

Now before I get a deluge of comments pointing out to me where I went wrong and how difficult it is for a young child to keep still and quiet for such a long time … I know that.  But that doesn’t mean that we mustn’t teach them.  It is the ONLY hour in a week that this is expected.  It is a life-lesson she will have to get!  And for everything there is a time and a place … this is that time.

So what have I learned … I spend a great deal of time living in introspective space, self-improvement, self-growth, being a better human being, working towards being a better mother and partner … it’s all a constant journey … which I adore and love … but none of that did me any good on this day … for some reason this pushed all of my buttons.  Repeatedly!   Our family are going through a thing at the moment and it is all a journey and growth, and I am very aware and we are talking through the events in the hopes that we will grow and learn.  But for all of my work around meditating, being blissed out, getting the lessons, being the Zen mother, working on being the evolved wife and human being … this one did my head in!

I get that our children can be and are our greatest teachers.  And I KNOW there are many lessons in this event for me but I lost it.  I’m not proud, but I am human.  I don’t know how I am going to face all of those fine people that were around us next week at mass … but they are all parents and they are all understanding of how this plays out.

I had a shocking night’s sleep, with great disturbance in the force because of my discord with Junior.  The immediate lesson in this for me was … not getting disillusioned, but rather to get right back up on that pursuit of enlightenment pony … that, and maybe that is why people sit at the back of church!


Love you all madly!  Let’s Make 2014 Count!
Collette in Cape Town

Song of the Post … I Will Survive! By Gloria Gaynor


2 comments:

Debbie - Wrinkled Mommy said...

Oh how funny. "Now". I'm sure it wasn't at the time. Personally, I believe churches should realize kids are just not ready to sit still when there is nothing around to keep them focused. Our church has a children's church and all the kids get up after music worship and go there so the adults can have quiet for the sermon. But I know of a lot of churches that don't do that.

Meghan Gray said...

In actual fact, that is EXACTLY why I sit in the very back seat at church. So that if (when) there are shenanigans, I am behind everyone while I deal with them. :) Stopping in from Bloppy Bloggers.

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