Sunday, January 18, 2009

Contemplating Sundays

It's Sunday.

I suppose I should be in church.
It's been a long time
since my butt felt the
hard pulpit beneath me
or my soul felt the terror
of a Baptist minister
preaching fire and brimstone
to a sleepy congregation.

As a child, my parents took us all-
the entire eight or nine of us-
dressed like little orphan dolls
to the little white church house
in the country.

The men would gather round
the giant tree out front-
smoke cigarettes and laugh-
the women dutifully securing a place inside-
sitting near an open window
in the summer-
choosing an inside aisle
when chilly air drifted
through the rafters.

We learned to do our bathroom business
before leaving the house.
The only reason we wandered to the outhouse
around back
was to read the old catalog flung over
the rusty coat hanger
that served as tissue-
maybe sometimes just to get away
from some gray haired lady
singing her version of
The Old Rugged Cross.

We played tag a lot
in that church yard.
Hide and seek.
Flittering about the tombstones
with giggles that
filled the sky.

I kinda miss those days.
Days when I knew
my innocence and youth
were probably enough
to get me to heaven.

Days when I bellowed out hymns
as though I could sing.
And prayed
for simple things
like food and fun
and summer.

I still pray.

Almost daily.
That pew may not be present
beneath me
or the preacher
standing before me,
but there are times that I know
that I am
in the presence of God.

My prayers have changed.
Simple things grow complicated with age.
I find myself wanting more for others
than I do for myself.
My prayers encompass
a big, wide world now.
Yet, my family is the thing
I most ask God
to save, guide, and protect.

Mom and Dad could have given up-
stayed home-
slept in and sent us kids out to play-
lounged comfortably
on summer Sunday mornings
with coffee and a newspaper.

But, that small unselfish act-
the commitment of taking us to church-
has altered my life for the better.

And for that
I am thankful.