The congregation of St Mary’s in Ann Arbor requests that we sit toward the middle of the pew so that stragglers can find a place to sit. Since I like the late comer area of the next to last pew in the back, I accomodate this wish. Just before the procession a mother came in with her daughter and a small bag and sat at the very end of the pew in front of me. I looked briefly at the missallette and when I looked up a ziplock bag of apples, one with goldfish, one with animal crackers, and a tiny brightly colored pouch, which later I got to see had candy canes were cascaded across the pew toward the center as well as a fuzzy big M key chain with no keys, a giraffe, a bear, and an elephant. Next came a few books as the mother quietly inventoried the items with the child who had 5 crayola markers in her hand. The seat also had a few pages of Dora stickers with a sticker book.
The mass was about the Holy Family. I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face mostly. What that mom did, worked. That little girl, no more than 2, occassionally needed to comment or dropped a marker, but, for the most part, played quietly, accustomed to the routine.
As someone who never had to go to church growing up, but at the same time had a mom that thought of everything that I might be interested in, there are a lot of things about today’s service that made my heart soar. I thought about how God picked Mary, knowing she’d be faithful to the Jewish traditions and surround Jesus with His ways. How He knew she’d be flexible as he sent her into a sticky situation as an unwed mom.
I thought about how God supplies us with things that will keep us entertained in safe places until we are ready to focus on what He has for us. And how those same things that aren’t the tougher tests, still prepare us for what’s ahead. And how He knew me and how much I would love to sit near that mother and daughter, prompting me to be grateful for my own overprepared mom and for His abundant care.