Sunday, October 4, 2009

Trying Not to Laugh

Second day on new med. GL slept until 8 a.m. this morning. (He was up at 4 a.m. Saturday. He's been up between 2 and 5 most mornings lately.) He was scheduled to acolyte today. We never know how that will go; sometimes he does very well, and other times he has to be taken out part way through the service. We decided to try, because we are usually playing it by ear anyway.

First, we had to get his alb to fit. He is taller than most of the other acolytes, and has always had a disproportionately large head. They have kids' sizes, which won't go over his head easily, (he's got his head stuck in them more than once) and adult sizes, which drag on the ground, but nothing in between. I got him an adult size. The belt went around him 1 1/2 times, almost twice. I hitched up the robe, cinched it with the belt, and tucked in the free end. Before long, the belt loosened enough that the robe slipped, and he was treading on the hem. I asked for help, saying that we needed to fix his belt, so he wasn't stepping on the train. He objected loudly, "There aren't any trains in here!" and wouldn't quiet down until I assured him that all trains would stay on their respective tracks.

He was a taperer today, and he was a little confused about where to stand, because he has always been crucifer before. But he managed the first part of the service just fine, and slipped out for Sunday School during the sermon, which is his usual accomodation. When he returned, he had a hard time settling back in his seat. I went and sat behind him, which seemed to help. The service wasn't any longer than usual, but the longer it went, the more frustrated he became. I couldn't tell what he was upset about, and I don't think there was anything in particular wrong, he had just had enough, and was ready for the service to be over. He was whimpering, with occasional tears. He wanted to leave right now, and go ride the trolley, but he didn't want to miss Communion. He couldn't decide whether to stand up or sit down, whether to stay or go.

When we said, "Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again," he stood up and announced in frustration, "No, He won't!" I saw the whole front pew trying very hard not to laugh. I tried, unsuccessfully, also.

When the other acolytes went up to the altar, he wouldn't go, but he refused to leave without Communion. So I sat with him until the acolytes' turn to receive. We went up together and received with the acolytes. I whispered to the seminary student who was assisting, that GL needed to leave, and BB could replace him. He said, "That's okay, I'll carry the cross."

We went to hang up the alb, and BB met us, ready to take over. I told him he could help if he wanted to, but it was already covered. Our church offers a choice between Mogen David from the chalice and Welch's in tiny plastic cups. GL usually takes the Welch's. Because that wasn't ready, he drank from the chalice. I don't think he's ever tasted wine before. As we were leaving for the trolley, he said, "That was some grape juice!"

After we returned from the trolley ride, several people complimented GL on his good work. He may not do things the same way as the other acolytes do them, but he works a lot harder at it, and people seem to understand that. They also encouraged us to keep working at including him. We were invited to eat with a family from church. MB and BB went, which is refreshing for them, but GL and I had a much-needed quiet afternoon at home. We appreciated the invitation but, "Home's the best place for all people like me."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,
Thanks for sending me the link to this post. Thanks also for letting GL serve yesterday. I think it's great. He's certainly a blessing.

I have no idea what it's like for you, but I do know what it is like to have my two rambunctious kids. When I'm sitting with them in Church it seems like they are SO loud and distracting (especially at Nashotah House where the liturgy tends to be more solemn and quiet). When I'm not sitting with them, though, I hardly ever notice them.
(I did have one altercation with a woman earlier this year. She was complaining that she was not able to focus because of the kids chattering in the back during the Good Friday liturgy. She wanted the mothers (i.e., my wife) to take the kids outside. I politely informed her that SHE was welcome to go outside if the sound of little Christians bothered her.)

I was glad to have him helping out. He didn't seem any more confused than the other acolytes have been about where to stand (I'm working on drawing a map of where to go:).
I hope I didn't seem rude about "carrying the cross" (that sounds so pious, ha!). I just didn't want you guys to have to worry about it. Honestly, as far as I could tell, he was doing as well the other acolytes have done.

One last thing (I wish I could affect a facetious tone of voice with text): The communion wine is most certainly NOT Welch's. Dr. Welch (the man who invented grape juice) was a teetotaling Methodist. We are Anglican.

Peace be with you,

October 5, 2009 at 3:17 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

Thank you. I don't think BB felt left out. He just assumes he has to step in whenever GL needs help. That can be good or bad.

October 5, 2009 at 11:50 AM  

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