I know the sermon is brilliant, they always are, and I really want to listen to it. But I can't. I'm not sure why.
He is snuggled on my right. He puts his head in my lap and runs his fingernail along the golden cross embossed on the hymnal in the rack in front of us. He rolls his head back and mouths "I'm bored" to me.
I smile and nod, as mothers have done throughout the ages. Somewhere out there in the universe is a giant cosmic crucifix, carved by the heads of billions and billions of nodding mothers, as we quietly admonished our children in church.
"Yes, I know you're bored."
"No, you cannot play with my cell phone."
It is our own silent sign of the cross.
She leans her head against my shoulder, subconsciously asserting her equal right to my affection. She too is bored and in her sleepy trance she traces her favorite scar, the 3-inch gash that traverses my forearm, where I had a mole biopsied when she was 18 months old. The diagnosis was "atypical mole", which is your body's foreshadowy way of saying "not cancer yet."
Atypical mole... Third grade vocabulary. Somehow I at least expected a diagnosis in Latin.
Memento mori. Memento vivere.
That is the call from this ravine that runs across my arm. Remember that you will die. Remember to live.
Baby Henry is two rows in front of us and is playing with his father's face as we begin to pray.
"Our Father, who is in Heaven, hallowed be Your name."
Henry pats his father's cheeks and then giggles as his dad playfully retaliates by biting his fingers and the two of them laugh softly, a happy undercurrent carrying our prayers. And it occurs to me how it's all the same thing, what we're doing and what Henry is doing. We are all wanting our father's attention. I wonder if what Henry is experiencing with his father right now is priming the pathways in his soul to one day understand how much his Creator loves him. Or perhaps it's the other way around.
And I guess it doesn't really matter.
It's over and as I'm caught in the undertow of worshipers flowing out of the sanctuary I'm not sure what I got out of the service really, other than maybe something about river beds and currents.
I walk out into the parking lot and this is what I see, painted in clouds.
What I see is a question mark. But I wonder - is that what you saw?