It seems I’ve attended more funerals in the last 90 days than in my whole life combined. Celebrating the life of my own precious Mother-In-Law with little people in my lap opened my eyes to an area of service I had not considered before. Isn’t that how it goes?
It wasn’t a real plan, but this is how we set up the environment…
- Folded over construction paper, wrote “sticker book” on the cover and had a few sheets of stickers. We set a couple of these in the front pews ahead of time…didn’t want Mama to have to carry or keep up with not one more thing with a toddler.
- Several rubber bugs, animals, or non-battle characters in a beach bucket…quiet play poured out in the floor of the pew or in the aisle for a preschooler.
- Since Mama was playing the piano, we all sat toward that side of the pew/row rather than the center aisle so that having Mama in sight kept for a calm little one.
- Etch a sketches with a roller ball mover made for an easy win with very little hands and challenging fine motor skills.
- Several small bottles of water, already opened, with a little poured out to avoid opening spills.
Last week, one of our families lost their second, much-loved grandparent in two months. In the midst of this sweet Mama’s grief, she stopped by the church to pick up a bucket of items to keep little hands and hearts present and busy during the funeral service at her home church. I also handed three rolls of Mentos to the oldest to share with his younger siblings. The middle one received her Mentos roll and immediately asked, “Do you have a bottle of Diet Coke?” Man, I love them!
An outside wedding filled with all ages and all stages. Little people dressed in comfortable clothes, shoes off, playing in the dirt on the side, but within sight of the ceremony of the beautiful couple which a 2 and 4 year old watched intently while their hands were busy. Be still my heart!
On Sunday, I danced and sang the closing song with a 5-month old in the service where he was dedicated to the Lord. He’s a talker and so am I. His kind Grandma handed him to me and so we danced and sang. His beautiful Mama was tending to the needs of his toddler older brother. Man, I love them!
A wise pastor once shared his four favorite sounds: folding chairs, the turn of a page in a bible, the tearing of a check from a checkbook, and the noise of little people while he preached. All four sounds reflect life in a living, loving church.
Remarkable moments of life. Births and deaths. Baptisms and funerals. Weddings and new babies. The smells, the sights, the sounds, the tastes (celebration food!), the touches that build the foundations and connections for little people to all of God’s people in the remarkable moments of life. To be invited into these moments is a privilege. To share the journey is an honor…even if it’s with rubber bugs and cloth diapers embroidered with “We may not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:51