Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew, 5:24On Sunday in Norwich we had a "best of times, worst of times" mass. We were at the Roman Catholic cathedral for 11 a.m. mass. In the huge nave, we selected a pew near the front so we could see the priest and the readers. It was awe inspiring to sit in the flood of blue light coming from the stained glass window so high above us. J snuggled into mommy's lap and whispered, "I'm so happy to be here." Mommy was thrilled to hear this and whispered back "Do you feel God touching your heart?" J replied, "Yes! This place is like a playground for my heart." Wonderful! Thank you, Lord. Soon L snuggled onto my lap, too and the children began quietly snuggling and nuzzling each other. Thank you, Lord. The best of times.
However, it is hard to remain in a state of grace. About 30 minutes into the service, the children were playing separately. J sort of followed along with the service. L played with some tiny dolls on the pew. J decided to join L's game and he crossed over to sit with her, but he tripped on the kneeler and crashed into L from behind, crushing her painfully against the pew. L took this as an unprovoked attack and, once freed, attempted to exact revenge by fastening her teeth into J's arm. Mommy yanked just in time so L only got a taste of his shirt sleeve. She was outraged and proceeded to howl her protest to the world. Remember all those pews we walked past to sit in the front? A loudly protesting L was carried past them all. In the cry room Mommy tried to explain to L that J had hurt her by accident. L didn't buy it. Eventually she calmed down enough to return to the pew. Alas, L has learned the old Klingon proverb--revenge is a dish best served cold. Back in the pew L took a toy, showed it to J (as in, want to play with this?) and then threw it as hard as she could into one of the neighboring pews. L needed another timeout and the walk of shame repeated itself. At the sign of the peace, L sat on her hands so that J couldn't grab her hand and shake it against her will. The worst of times.
L did not follow the advice of the scripture passage above and walked up to communion in a huff. Even afterward, she would not give J so much as a stuck-out tongue. It was a very long mass.
As with all challenges, this too has passed. L and J are friends again. At least for now...