We wait a full 6 weeks after moving before we finally work up the nerve to get the kids dressed, pack ourselves in the car, and find our way to a stained-glass parking lot. Butterflies ransack my stomach. Not the good butterflies, the ones bursting with hope and excitement. No, these bad boys are the ones full of dread. The ones that gnaw at your insides and convince you doom is imminent.
The butterflies and I spend the 10 minute drive prepared to be skeptical, to be judgmental and critical.
I get out of the car, egocentrically certain that everyone is staring at me. At the door a man in a Hawaiian shirt greets me. I inwardly classify him as “typical”. I reply to a cheerful “Hi” and volunteer my name before the accent question emerges. You get used to that when you travel the world with a twang.
We find a seat (because this church seems the kind that is too cool for pews) and I commence the Christian people watching. I glanced around at the upper middle class hipsters one at a time, finding things wrong with them.
“Wonder how much she paid for that hair color.”
“Could those skinny jeans BE any tighter?”
“There is no way that dude isn’t gay.”
And so goes my haterade.
The “worship service” starts and I fully embrace the air quotes in my heart. The young and peppy worship leader has a tattoo on the back of his arm. “Ooh, edgy” – I mock silently. I find the songs awkward, as always. Mostly due to the format – standing unnaturally for no good reason except that we were told to. The tattooed, chipper worship leader occassionally takes a kicking step back from the mic with a dramatic strum of his guitar. It makes me want to giggle.
At some seemingly arbitrary point in the worship song service, the children are ushered to their classrooms. The unschooling mama in me wants to reject this. We’re not used to being separated. And I don’t want to hand them over to someone else to be taught some watered down bible story. But I don’t say any of this. I let The Husband usher them out with the rest of the crowd. Then I sit instead of stand until he gets back – the smallest form of rebellion I dare to brave.
Finally, Mr Peppy McEdgy finishes his set. Then I’m slightly surprised to find Mr. Hawaiian shirt taking the stage. Apparently he’s going to preach…
…to be continued.
(Spoiler: it gets better. Don’t burn me at the stake yet. I’m chronicling my emotions how they happened – not claiming they’re right or proper.)