So, today was church
You know, that three hour ordeal that frequently ends with weeping, wailing, and gnashing of the teeth. Then the kids start up and it really gets bad.
I struggle with church some weeks. Okay, most weeks. It is just really hard to get everyone dressed and fed and then redressed and then pry the food out of their hands so we can get out the door on time. When we do pull it off, I usually realize I forgot to take my sweats off that I was wearing under my skirt (which, when you are in primary is actually a good thing), or I am still in slippers (less good, but comfy).
It is tiring.
Today we were actually on a roll and it was going good. Everyone was ready, I was wearing pants under my dress on purpose (seriously, you have to be prepared for craziness when you are with little kids all the time and a skirt without pants underneath is begging for disaster), and we all had shoes
AND socks on.
But, Buddy was pouting about going.
Trying to be the good mom, I asked him, "Bud, do you know why we go to church?"
With a fabulous roll of his eyes, he moaned, "because we're MORMONS!"
That stuck with me as I was sitting in the pew. Sam was out in the hall with Ozzy because Oz is 4 and this means he is nearly always really angry that he isn't 5 yet. I was rocking Henry, who was exhausted because of course, nap time is right during church time. The big 3 kids were *almost* behaving, but acting up just enough to keep me at a nice, high stress level.
I was thinking to myself, "wow, once again, I'm a church and I don't feel any peace at all. Remind me why I am here again?"
And I heard it.
"Because we're Mormon."
But, this time I got it.
So, then I got up and I told the entire congregation what had just happened in my head and now I'm sharing it with you, not really because it matters to you, but because it matters to me and I need to remember it.
Let's go back a few days.
I was super busy at work last week and I ended up being over on hours, which meant I needed to go home early this Friday. I was excited about it because I wanted to go do something fun with the kids. They had been working on cleaning up the house so we could play.
As I was leaving work, I called the kids to tell them I was on the way, then I called Sammy. Turned out he was rushing to help someone and he needed an advocate from Family Crisis Center to respond.
Well, guess what? I'm an advocate. So, I called the kids and told them I would be home later, met up with a co-worker, and off we went. It was important to go, and I was happy to be of assistance. But, I was tired and I missed my kids and I had a cookie I had hidden at home that I really wanted to eat. It was okay, I knew I would get home and see the kids and have the cookie and it was fine.
So, I eventually tagged out of that situation and headed home. The kids had lost their drive and the house was messy. I spent the rest of the day trying to catch that up, then we had some unexpected hiccups, and when it was nearly midnight, I went to get my special cookie... and it was gone.
How special was this cookie? Well, this special:
I got these cookies at the Cocoa Bean in Rexburg. It is close to my work. They are amazing. I gave one to Sam the other day, and, well, this is him eating the second one. Seriously, good.
I was really upset when I went to bed.
I woke up more upset.
I worked hard and I wanted my cookie, but there wasn't a frickin' cookie!
Well, this morning, I was still mad about my cookie. But, as I was putting away a griddle, I found a cake pop I had also hidden and forgotten about. I inhaled it... then I realized it was fast Sunday, so I beat my head on the wall for 10 minutes.
Then, it all came together at church.
Sometimes we do stuff for a cookie. We're Mormon (or whatever faith or role or insert whatever title here that you want) and we expect to have some sort of reward for working hard. We want our cookie.
But, that is a problem. We don't do good works for cookies, or, to get more churchy, to earn our way into heaven. It doesn't work that way.
We're doing good, because the world needs us to. We need us too. Helping others makes me happy, and I know it is right for me. If I'm doing it for a cookie, I'll always be disappointed. Plus, what if I am doing good things, but, the world hands me a cake pop instead? It's fine. They're really good too. But, it isn't the cookie, is it? If I focus too much on the cookie part of the work, I'll always be disappointed, even if I get something better. No matter what, I'll be missing the point of being a part of the good in the world.
Sure, we go to church because we're Mormon. But, really, we go because, while sometimes we don't see the point, or we are frustrated with what is going on, or our faith is being shaken to it's very core, or, we just want to get to sleep in for once, we're on a journey, and those three hours can help us get where we're going. For me, church isn't a peaceful place right now. I'm always more exhausted after I go. But, I am learning patience. I'm learning to have faith that this consistent effort will help me grow as a person. If it doesn't, and I never get a cookie, I'll be okay.
But, here is where it gets awesome.
I go to church with amazing people. People who like me and my family. They laugh at our jokes and they have always treated us with love.
Tonight, a family brought us this:
That really makes it all worth it.
Oh, and also, don't eat my cookies. For realsies.