It’s Not So Hard

I wasn’t looking forward to Spirit Play this week.  I thought about what I might say.  I thought about what I might not say.  I fretted just a little.  And then I took a deep breath…and the day began.  The day began slowly with a spacious amount of time for everyone to wake up, eat and get ready.  And then my son refused to go to church.  And I happened to be the only parent in town on Sunday.  Angry BirdSo the negotiations started, and the tears, and the screaming, and the consequences.  I managed to remain mostly cool calm and collected in the face of the very loud and tearful resistance.  I got my children into chapel and headed down to our Spirit Play room.  I greeted the other teacher and took some more deep breaths and went to sit on the rug.  The morning was already harder than I thought it would be.

The lesson this week continued to revolve around all families matter.  This lesson was on families who have experienced divorce.  This is a hard subject to talk about with kids…both kids who have two homes those who live all together.  I wondered if there would be any questions.  Actually I wondered if I would be able to get through the lesson.  Our family is currently in the middle of this very transition.  It’s hard to talk about.  I don’t really understand myself how we got to this place.  I wondered if it would be hard to read about kids who sometimes are with one parent and sometimes with another.  So, just in case I would cry during the books, I started by sharing a sorrow that my family is going through a divorce and that was what we were talking about that day.  And I shared a joy.  And usually the kids are very good about listening to each other, but suddenly everyone was sharing and wanted to talk about their joy that was like mine.  It took a while to get things centered and calm and for us to take turns listening.  That wasn’t what I expected to happen.

I didn’t cry while I read the books.  I didn’t expect that either.  And once the children were off and playing everything hummed along quite joyfully.  I was really expecting this to be a hard class.  Instead I got to hold a child who was sad to separate from his mother and he called me over later to look at his play-dough sculpture of an angry bird.  Another child simply sat next to me as I read her a book and leaned in so that we were cuddling.  Many of the kids engaged me in laughter as we pretended to fall asleep and wake up.  I laughed.  I was hugged.  It was really nice.  It wasn’t what I expected.

I am so grateful that our church is a place where we can talk about hard stuff, even with children, especially with children.  I’m glad that our circles of community can engage in holding sorrows and laughter.  I am glad to join your children in play and learning and wonder.  I am glad that this is a place where I am loved no matter if I’m put together or if I’m going through a hard patch.  I am grateful that I can be ok in myself and where I am in the midst of community.  This week the children taught me not to anticipate my own grief, but to be actually where I am.  Maybe it’s not so hard.  Maybe it’s not what I expected.  Maybe it’s better.

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