Even though my son’s confirmation went great, there was still something missing. To start out at the very beginning of my time, I was raised as a Lutheran. After many years of seeking and trying many different denominations, I came back full circle to being a Lutheran. Will I always be a Lutheran? Who knows. I am very open to other possibilities. Let’s put it this way, I agree and disagree with just about every denomination out there.
Our previous church to the Lutheran one was rather far away. As the kids were getting older, it became more difficult to be there multiple times a week. Our oldest was getting to the age where she wanted to join youth group on Sunday night which meant almost 2 hours of driving on Sunday. After a series of snowstorms every Sunday for a month and a half, we ended up going to the Lutheran church down the road. We liked it so much that we decided to stay. This involved getting our non infants baptized. At the time we chose family to be the sponsors of our daughters and a friend to be the sponsor of our son. That friend is no longer involved in our life.
My husband has always been a Fred Flintstone kind of guy. He is outgoing and makes friends with quieter types of guys. He typically finds Barney’s that are single and lonely or guys that have gone through hard breakups. He befriends them and gets them obsessed with fishing or as of recently sailing. My son’s godfather Gary was one of those guys. Then Gary found a woman. He brought her over one night for supper and conversation. I feel really bad about the next part, while they were over I fell asleep. Honestly, she was that boring. No sense of humor, nothing. I tolerate stupidity better than boring, or lazy, for that matter. If your life lacks luster, make it shine! I do feel bad though. This woman was perfect for Gary though. They decided to marry and my husband was the best man.
After the wedding, we got together a few times. Gary and Paul still went fishing together. Then Gary’s wife had a miscarriage one day while they were out fishing. I really think that she was upset that her husband wasn’t home. A few months later, she got pregnant again. She did not invite me to her baby shower although she invited other mutual friends. It was all over facebook. Okay, whatever. That December, Gary called us to tell us that he was a father. We wanted to see the baby, but were too busy at the time. My mom was recovering from surgery due to cancer. It was a very scary time. I took off of work to help her out. To make matters harder, our family was involved in a community theater production the first two weekends in December. Then came Christmas, so we never made it out to see the baby. It wasn’t long after that that Gary’s wife unfriended me on facebook. Gary dropped out of our life too. But about once a year, Gary stops by our house out of the blue by himself to visit.
Friends come and go, I don’t harbor any resentment. Although, it is time for Gary’s yearly visit.
The cake is gone, the festive dishes have been washed and put back in dark cupboard corners. My son’s confirmation went better than expected. He even said during the party that he was getting bored of gaming. He played board games with family and friends. Hallelujah!
I have to share with you the story of my confirmation because it is such a crazy story it seems made up. I got confirmed during a presidential campaign year. I attended a small rural church. The church was large but the congregation was small, probably around 40 regular attendees per week. We shared our pastor with our sister congregation 20 minutes away. After 2 years of sitting through Saturday morning confirmation classes listening to my pastor’s monotone speaking, I got confirmed. I memorized all the creeds and required Bible verses. The night before the big day, the eight of us confirmands had to answer about 300 memorized theological questions in front of our family and friends. By golly, somehow we pulled it off.
I was the only person getting confirmed in my church, the rest were getting confirmed in the sister church. We found out that a senator running for president was stopping at my church on the campaign route. He was stopping on confirmation Sunday. Finally, it was time for the big day! The parking lot was beyond full. I was escorted to the front row of our church. My mom hired a violinist that was a recent immigrant from Poland. The secret service patted him down and inspected his violin case thoroughly. The church was packed, there wasn’t a single open seat. The offering from that one service probably tided the church over for the next 10 years.
I remember being terrified while reciting my confirmation verse and giving my explanation of the verse. My voice squeaked like a frightened church mouse. Afterwards, we hosted a huge meal for the senator and he spoke. I had my picture with the senator in all of the local papers. Big things don’t usually happen in small towns.
I am sitting inside watching the rain fall like little tears from heaven. I sit and think. Thinking again. I am waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop. Waiting for a large Saturday morning cup of coffee out in my hot tub. It is my tradition.
When I think of church, I think of traditions. Rituals always done the same way. But what if it rains? What if things change? I have been to many different denominations. Even non traditional churches have their routines. The same similar structures every week. The way it starts, the way things end. The time it ends always the same. Ritualistic, though intending not to be.
Tomorrow my son is being confirmed in the church we have chosen. It almost didn’t happen. Remember a couple of weeks back when I still wished my grandpa was here with us? He still is here. I see him reflected every day in my son. My son didn’t want to just go along with the rest of the group. He has so many questions, more than answers. Like his great grandpa, he is so full of piss and vinegar to be agreeable to conform. He felt too imperfect to be a Christian. He is honest and I respect that.
We ended up having a long conversation with our pastor. It came down to my son having to make a decision. Are you with us or not? My husband talked to my son about leaving the door open for God. Faith is not a perfect all or nothing compartment that my son wanted to put it in. He struggles, don’t we all? He questions, shouldn’t we all?
He decided to get confirmed. He is leaving the God door open. He made a drawing of Jesus carrying a cross through an open door. He also picked the verse of Revelation 3:20. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Whether we choose to believe or not, shouldn’t we always be seeking to answer the questions we have in life. To not be stagnant. To not just go with the flow. Life is meaningless without having meaning in it.
The rain clouds parted, time for my Saturday morning ritual. Then I will put on my Martha apron, cooking and cleaning for the party tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I will be Mary. Always a work in progress….