On Thursday evenings, we eat an early dinner. Okay. Most evenings we eat an early dinner. But on Thursdays, we make certain to finish our dinner early so we can drive nine miles west to get the boys to our church for children’s choir practice.
They love it. I love that they love it.
Tonight, as we waited for the director to get into the practice room so I could ask her a question, I watched as the accompanist taught the boys a quick song on the piano. I watched as they joyously banged on the bongo drums, as they fake-tap-danced on the linoleum floor, as they greeted each of their friends as they showed up.
It also gives us, the parents, an hour to go out and do something by ourselves in the middle of the week. We normally stop and get a coffee, or for me, half cappuccino, half espresso roast like my dad taught me back when he drove me to voice lessons every Thursday evening. Today we went to Dollar General and bought Gatorade and Lysol to replenish our stashes after the stomach virus that ripped through our family. I took a moment to call and check on my parents. We stopped and bought some wine, because stomach virus that ripped through our family. And then we went to pick them up.
I struggle with taking them to choir. I struggle with taking them to Sunday School, which we haven’t in awhile. I struggle with teaching them about a faith that I hold near and dear to my heart. I want them to know the love that I have, the faith that I have, the joy that I have… but I desperately want to shield them from the hate that exists within the bigger church. I want them to find a faith, if they so choose, on their own, not just simply adopt the one I have so chosen as my own. Growing up in the evangelical church in the 80’s and 90’s, I saw things that make me fear for my own children. Not necessarily for their physical safety, but for their spiritual ability to discern right from wrong, faith from brainwashing, love from hate, mistakes from guilt and shame.
I can only hope that as I continue to expose them in this way while also working oh-so-hard to keep the dialogue open about all of these issues at hand will keep the door open. So that they can question, ask the harder questions that many from my generation didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask. That I didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask. It’s a fine line, a difficult one to walk as a parent; a parent with faith who was scarred by more than one leader with ulterior motives or, even, the best of intentions that lead down a path of hate.
I don’t have the answers to the bigger faith questions at large, but I hope to be the best mother I can be to these two little boys, on this topic and so many others. That’s all I can do.
And hope against hope that someday my sons’ generation will know the peace that my generation wishes existed now.