Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bailing out on the way to church

I'm on the left. Lars is holding Vicki. Bill is standing.
My son recently asked if I liked church when I was a kid. His question was borne out of his own lack of enthusiasm for getting up on Sunday mornings to go to church.

The honest answer? No, I didn't. Growing up, Sundays were stressful. My dad was a dairy farmer. It was a challenge to get the cows milked, chores done and four small kids ready. Invariably we'd be running late.

Once everyone was finally ready, we'd pile into our 1964 Ford--Dad and Mom in the front with the baby in between them. We'd pick up Grandma on the way, and she'd join the rest of us in the back seat to referee our fights.

Every Sunday one of us kids would get car sick. It was no wonder, really. Our Ford didn't have shocks. Dad would careen around the sharp curves in the river road while mom would liberally spray her hair with Aqua Net. Hymns would be playing on The Bible Radio Hour.

One Sunday Lars just couldn't take it anymore. Bill said he was going to get sick. Lars knew what was coming, and before Dad even had a chance to slow down, he bailed. Just opened the door and jumped.

I still remember seeing his white belly rolling down the ditch. My mom screeched, "Bill! We just ran over Lars!" My dad slammed on the brakes. We all jumped out of the car (not before Bill threw up on both of us). We peered down the ditch. My parents were shaken but relieved to find Lars alive. Just a little banged up with twigs stuck in his hair. Bill and I were a mess though.

Dad looked at his watch. "Well, we won't make it to Sunday school, but if we hurry, we can still make it to church."  My grandma quietly pulled Kleenexes out of her purse to clean us up. 

As a parent now, I understand how hard it was for my parents to get us to church. But they believed it was important. Their prayer was that each of their kids would coming to a saving faith. I understand where my son is coming from. I was there too when I was his age. Despite parents' best efforts, sometimes our kids' experiences growing up are less than ideal. 

My awesome parents, Bill and Shirley, in the '60s
I did recover from my early church memories and eventually came to my own faith. I look forward to going to church. I love the worship and being with my brothers and sisters. I come away encouraged every Sunday.

I am glad our church does mostly contemporary worship songs though. To this day, I don't care much for the old hymns. I start to get car sick every time I hear Bringing in the Sheaves (which I thought was Bringing in the Sheets).

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for Saturday night services and live broadcasts on Sunday mornings. It is harder to get the whole family to church when there are work schedules that conflict with church services. There's nothing like going with the whole family to live worship service though! We are blessed to have an awesome church where my parents also attend.