I have a confession to make: I don’t always pay attention during church.
You can basically boil down the tenets of my faith to two things: God is love and the old do unto others as you would like done unto you plea. But for some reason, some of our preachers feel that twenty minutes on the intricacies of the Gospel are necessary for the flock to hear, despite the fact that there is more than one lolling head in the crowd. As a family, we began sitting up front so that we could sit in rapt attention and avoid distraction. This “front of the church” position resulted in my husband’s continuing embarrassment over one of the nastiest bouts of “church giggles” that had ever befallen me. By the time I excused myself from the pew, tears were rolling down my face and I almost had to be escorted out of the building by one of the ushers, who thought I was overcome with grief over something to do with my then-illness. I didn’t have the heart to tell him—or the courage to reveal—that I was really laughing because the woman behind me was singing off-key and an entirely different song from the one the rest of the congregation was singing. After that, we moved to a side pew, where it was less likely that my giggling and my son’s chattering would be overheard or remarked upon by anyone. Because anyone sitting in a side pew is there for probably the same reason as we are and isn’t there to judge. Jim has found that separating me and our son from the general congregation has its benefits as well as its disadvantages. For me and our son, it just gives us a more private area for our deep discussions. One week, he and I had a discussion on what would happen to his teeth if he continued not brushing on a regular basis, a non-habit that I feared would result in the loss of all of his teeth. He told me that he had two options: 1) he would wear wooden teeth like George Washington or 2) he would wear plastic Vampire teeth for the rest of his life. (He was completely serious, by the way.) Another week, we had a spirited discussion about his science project and the lack of data and/or progress, all the while clapping our hands in time to “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” if not exactly singing all of the words.
So as you can see, I am a worship multi-tasker.
Last week’s homily had put me into a semi-stupor and my mind naturally went to the problem of the lack of closet space in the house. It started out with something like “the space Jesus inhabits in your heart” which took me to “space” and then to “lack of closet space” and then the thought of all of my clothes jammed into a small, under-the-stairs closet that I share with child #1 and her smelly field hockey uniform, cleats, and equipment. It’s closet hell, really, if we’re going to stay with the religious theme.
All of a sudden it hit me. There’s a little alcove in son’s room and it would be the perfect size for my wardrobe and fifty pairs of shoes. I even thought about the little pocketbook/scarf/belt rack that I would hand along one wall to hold my impressive collection of such items. I looked around the church, hoping I could share this revelation (and there’s another one!) with someone and saw my contractor sitting in the back row. Eureka! Using my powers of telepathy, I tried to relate to him that I would be needing an estimate on a new closet as soon as possible, but unfortunately, he had fallen into a deep sleep. With his eyes open. His slack jaw and gently bobbing head were a dead giveaway, though. His wife nudged him awake but he didn’t seem to understand that I was trying to tell him something very important.
I tried to return my attention to the sermon but it was for naught. Thrilled at the thought of my new closet, I kept imagining what it would be like to be able not only to see all of my clothes but to take them out, unwrinkled and not smelling like field hockey sweat.
I caught the tail end of the sermon and it was something to do with love thy neighbor, which I felt I had already accomplished because the love I was showing my contractor by giving him another job was just another notch in my belt of holiness, right?
A Jewish friend, who is also a brilliant architect who we affectionately call “Mike Brady, the architect” as an homage to the Brady Bunch dad, came over yesterday and I took him to show him where I might put the new closet. He was impressed. “Great idea. When did you come up with that?”
I confessed that it was during the homily at church.
He burst out laughing. Although he wouldn’t cop to dreaming up travel itineraries, or reconfiguring the kitchen to be more user-friendly, or even thinking about what his wife was cooking for the break fast during Yom Kippur services, his glee over my worship multi-tasking led me to believe that daydreaming during services is an endeavor not relegated to Christians.
I’ve already made my peace with going to hell, but I’d love some company. What are you thinking about when you’re supposed to be praying about your immortal soul, Stiletto faithful?