Monday, December 19, 2011

Setting a Good Example

Sunday morning mass started out a little rushed for me.  This was the day of the Christmas play titled, No Vacancy, and my job was to host a small luncheon, before the performance, for the cast members.

A variety of tea sandwiches were served and my contribution was egg salad.  Friday and Saturday were very busy days for our family, so I left my sandwich making for Sunday morning.  Sleeping in until 7:30 didn't help matters any.  Between making a nice breakfast for my husband and boys, preparing the eggs and making the sandwiches, it left little time for me to get ready, drop my dish at the hall and make it into church before 10 a.m.  Needless to say, we took two cars due to my 'running behind' and told my husband to go get our seats.

Our church is very small, very quaint and in the round, so finding my family wouldn't be a chore.  When I walked into the church I knew I wasn't that late, seeing Father Cox was still in the Narthex greeting people.  When I walked in to meet my family, I noticed another family had taken 'our seats' and was unable to locate Mike and the boys.  After a few minutes of searching, my son stood up and waved his arms.  No wonder I couldn't see them, they were behind the pulpit.

I don't like sitting behind the pulpit because the priest has his back to us the entire time and I like to look at peoples faces when they talk.  Besides, the rest of the parish can focus on us, as well as Father Cox, so I feel we have to be on our best behavior and when you have two 14 year old boys sitting together, trouble will always brew.  If they aren't poking each other, they are trying to talk to each other.  If they aren't stepping on each others toes, they are squeezing each others hand too hard during the Our Father.  I have to threaten, "Do I have to stand between the two of you, or can you behave like proper gentleman?"  Yesterday, I had to intervene.

My son Michael is quite funny, especially at inappropriate times.  I try my hardest to keep a stern face, however, he is a true crack up and I have a hard time keeping my composure.  It's not that he was really misbehaving, I think I was more concerned about him bringing attention to our family as we stood behind the pulpit.

Once I stepped between my two boys, that's when it hit me.  Out of no where I got the giggles, right during the sermon Father Cox was giving.  I'm not sure if I had finally relaxed from a tense morning or what it was, but once I started giggling I couldn't stop.  I immediately hung my head.  Michael was to the left of me, and he kept trying to see if I was crying, for I had to remove my glasses to wipe away the tears that were running down my face.  Patrick was to the right of me and he was getting dirty looks from his father who thought he brought this terrible spell over me.  Every time I tried to look at my husband, to shake my head and give him some sign it wasn't Patricks fault, I'd start giggling even harder and had to hang my head back down so no one would see me.  This lasted for a good 5 minutes, which seemed like an eternity.

All I could think about was the episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Mary attended the funeral of Chuckles the Clown.  During the funeral, Mary couldn't stop giggling.  Everyone kept looking at her because her actions were most inappropriate.  All she wanted to do was laugh out loud and when the priest called on her to do just that, something Chuckles would have wanted, she broke down and cried.

I so wish I could have laughed out loud yesterday, but I didn't.  I regained my composure and sat quietly, like a good girl, participating and setting a good example for my two boys. No matter how hard I try to instill proper behavior in my boys, and remind them there is a time and place for everything, sometimes I fail miserably.  It just goes to show, it's not about looking good, but living a life that matters.  

Looking at the big picture, my giggling episode was no big deal.  We were in church to thank the Lord for all he has blessed us with, we were serving others, and we were celebrating the birth of Christ, for us and God that's the only thing that mattered!

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