Coming into church today was a bit surreal for me. Everything was familiar, yet somehow everything was also very different. I felt like I needed to reestablish who I was, but didn't. I walked to the roped off section in the back and slid the rope up and over the pew so Vada and I could slip in.
I laid Vada on the cushion of the the pew, letting her remain in a sweet little slumber as well as her snow suit while I began to peal off my own winter weather layers. As I removed my coat I took a deep breath and inhaled the smells of the church.
December was the last time that I come to a service, but it felt much longer than that. I kept up on the sermons with the church pod casts, but I was always behind a week and it wasn't the same as being there.
It was over five months ago that we had brought Vada to church. It was the day of her baptism and the day before the seizures began. Up until today, I had an ongoing fear that this moment would never come. I feared that I would never be bringing Vada back with me. Yet here we were..., and I was smelling..., Wood. My church smelled of distinguished polished wood and other welcoming scents.
The sun shined through the stained glass windows as I remembered, illuminating the sanctuary in a way that light bulbs never could. Its glow wraps me like a blanket and warms me from the inside out. It's beautiful and it is one of my favorite physical things about our church.
As everyone began to arrive I felt a strong desire to cry, but I held it in and put a smile on my face instead. There were people coming in who I wanted to hug and talk with but couldn't. We exchanged knowing smiles, nods and even some air kisses and I began to feel more like I was at home and not just a visitor. However there was still a small part of me that ached. These were friends whom I hadn't been there for. I was feeling ashamed and guilty. I couldn't help but wonder if they truly understood our situation or if they thought ill of me.
My pastors voice brought goosebumps to my flesh like it always has. I welcomed that feeling. He is very passionate about his sermons. His words are strong and can cut through anything, because he speaks the truth. Its refreshing and was what I needed to hear.
When the sermon was over Pastor Ed made an announcement as to why I was sitting behind the rope with Vada. It was subtle and nice and at the same time welcoming to Vada and I. I didn't feel like the wizard behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz. He hadn't said to avoid us altogether, just to keep some space as to not over expose Vada.
I sat in our reserved pew for several minutes watching everyone say their goodbyes to each other and then make their way out to go home, or to lunches or whatever else their days may have consisted of. I sat there and continued to breath in the beauty and comfort of the church that I am proud to be a member of.
The people of this church have done so much for my me and my family over these very hard and trying times. There are so many things that I want to tell each and everyone of them. I often rehearse it in my thoughts. I have apologies that I want and need to make to some friends and thanks you's to others. Someday I will say all of these things that continue to linger in my thoughts on a daily basis, but for now, for today, i'll just say that this church is like another home to me..., and its good to be home.
I had to add these pictures in of Vada napping this morning at church. She was asleep when we got there and then right before we left. However, she was awake and very excited when our choir was singing. It was such a wonderfully proud moment having her there with me.