According to Google Maps, our church building is 5.2 miles away from our house. Estimated travel time: 10 minutes. Our meetings start at 11:00, but in true Williams fashion we usually leave the house at about 10:53 in plenty of time to be five minutes late for church. Needless to say, there are many Sunday mornings when we leave the house harried and huffing without a trace of Christianity in our words and deeds. This morning was no exception.
As we drove to church, the tension in the car was conspicuous. I was trying to put my mascara on and was frustrated with Nate, who was driving like Mario Andretti to compensate for our late start. The aggravation peaked in front of one of the local Methodist Churches. We've gotten used to the law enforcement brigade that stops traffic for the steady flow of saints who have to cross four lanes of heavy traffic to get to their parked vehicles. It's always a bit of a nuisance to stop, but today the flow of pedestrians was moving like a herd of turtles and a few cross words escaped Nate's tongue during the inconvenient pause. I, on the other hand, was grateful for the period of calm that allowed me to wipe the black smears from under my eyes and finish my make-up application in stillness.
Anyway, the family friction dissipated when the door on Henry's side of the car flew open as we rounded the corner into the church parking lot. I reached back to secure Henry and pull the car door shut in such a frenzy that I stepped right through my skirt, not knowing that the heel of my shoe was caught in my hem. People probably thought the Clampetts had showed up for church, with the rear door flying open to reveal a teetering toddler in the back seat--what a spectacle! When the door flew open, I thought it was just a malfunction in the 12-year old door mechanism of our Honda Accord. According to conventional calendar years, our car should be in a spritey state of pre-pubescence, but I have a hunch that cars age like dogs. I suppose it's not all that surprising considering its Carfax history and its 200,000 + miles (though we're not entirely sure of the precise mileage because we got bamboozled by a crooked salesman who rolled back the odometer) that this car runs more like a grizzled grandpa than a virile teenager. I wouldn't have been shocked if that door had flung open with no external influence, but despite its many rattles and quirks, the door mechanisms on our Honda are apparently still in tact. It was Little Henry (a.k.a MacGyver) who, from the snug confines of his carseat, managed to pry the door handle back just far enough to create such a Hillbilly hullabaloo in the church parking lot. I laughed all the way into church at the antics of our arrival. I suppose nothing's impossible when strong will and two-year old curiosity join forces.
I've never seen Henry so curious and fascinated about anything, though, as he is about our Christmas tree. We've had to give him some pretty stern scoldings to help him understand that the ornaments aren't toys and that he can't plug in the "yights" by himself. I hope I haven't Scrooged all of the childhood wonder and joy out of Christmas for the little guy...sometimes I worry that I have, though, when I walk into the living room and find him standing next to the tree with a sharply pointed finger, saying, in the gruffest voice he can make, "NO! Doh Dutch!" (don't touch!)
Hopefully there is joy and wonder in just looking.
There is immeasurable wonder for me every time I look at him and at Nate -- some days I wonder why I always find myself in such bedlam, but mostly I wonder if I deserve such blessings.
My cup of gratitude runneth over.