Of Tears & Prayers

I cried in church yesterday.

Perhaps this is not surprising seeing as how I’m a crier. Coffee commercials, hymns, Christmas carols, snowflakes falling, coloring pages left on my desk as gifts from little hands, gifts of coffee from friends. I cry at them all. I expect to weep a little in church during the holiday season as December is, in and of itself, a difficult time for me. Add in holiday memories, family, and songs that strike a chord, and I sniffle through church all season with the biggest sniffs coming as we sing “Silent Night” by candlelight on Christmas Eve. The big sniffing season over, I expected to sit quietly in church yesterday morning without wondering if my eyeliner was running onto my new dress.

The boys run-walked up front for the children’s sermon early on in the service. They were joined by only a few other kids, the crowds of Christmas season dwindling. The children’s sermons during Advent were my favorite of any series of children’s sermons; our Lady Pastor read lesser known Christmas books to the kids and then worked them into her sermons for us big people. I thought that nothing she would do or could say to our children would top the joy I had watching my sons listen to her stories with Christmas wonder and faith like a child.

I was wrong.

Yesterday, our Lady Pastor asked each of the children up front if she could place a hand on their head and say a prayer for them for the year to come, to start the year off just right. They all nodded, looking up at her with the wide eyes children reserve for those they revere in some way or another. My sons think our Pastor is just so cool. I kind of do too.

“How nice,” I thought. I obviously wasn’t prepared.

As Lady Pastor began to pray over my oldest son first, I sniffed. Then I had to blink. Quickly. Repeatedly. I grabbed for a tissue, of which I had many as that younger boy was coming down with a cold in church. (Apologies to those sitting near us; he simply wasn’t that sick when we left for church.) I wiped at my eyes as she continued to pray over that sniffly, sneezy younger son.

Maybe it’s the wake of the horrible tragedy in Newtown. Maybe it’s my overprotective tendencies being brought to the surface by the emotional roller-coaster that is my December. Maybe it’s the holiday season that reminded me how much I really love my family, especially these two little boys that look to both me and their father for guidance and protection. Maybe it’s the wildly independent streak in our youngest son that keep surprising me at every turn. Maybe it’s the way I see myself so deeply ingrained in our oldest son’s personality. But I’ve felt this overwhelming lump in my throat, in my chest, when I think of letting them continue to live their lives out of my reach, of letting them experience life the way that the need to without me hovering and directing and dictating and deciding every last aspect of their lives.

Maybe it’s just because I’m their mom and they’re my sons and I love them more than words can ever fully describe.

But as our Pastor prayed over them, for their year and their protection and their beautiful little beings, I prayed right along with her. It’s not that I don’t pray for them, daily. Minute by minute. Every time BigBrother steps on that bus. Every time I drive away and leave LittleBrother at preschool. Every time I tuck them in. Wake them up. Feed them. Send them to their rooms for a time out. Lecture them. Hug them. Kiss them. I pray for their safety. For their futures. For their relationships, current and future. For their decision making. For my decision making. I pray that someday they’ll understand why their mom was so weepy, that they’ll forgive me for the hovering I do, that they’ll see how much I tried not to hover. But in that moment, as she prayed with her hands on their heads and the church silently sat as witnesses, I was overcome with emotion that other people cared enough to pray for my children. Cared about their safety, their well-being. Cared about them on a level that is important, is vital. That moment, a brief moment in a longer church service, solidified that, for now, we are in the place we need to be.

She continued on, praying for the other children, and I prayed right along with her. I didn’t know those children as well, but I was invested in their beings too. I care for them.

Once finished, the children began to return to their seats. My two run-walked three quarters of the way back the main aisle to our pew. I kissed each of their heads as they settled down into their seats, one on either side of me. I said a quick additional prayer, not of protection or of wishes or of hopes, but one of thanks. I have done nothing to deserve what I have in my life, but I am intensely and beyond-words thankful for every last bit of it.

Of Tears & Prayers

Even the tears.


16 replies on “Of Tears & Prayers”

I have only recently had the experience of being present while someone prayed out loud on behalf of myself and/or my immediate family members. Specific prayers for an individual or for my family unit, not just “and God bless so-and-so”. It’s an incredibly powerful and humbling feeling I can’t even begin to express in words. Your post made me feel all of those feels all over again… I just might be crying too…

“It’s an incredibly powerful and humbling feeling I can’t even begin to express in words.” It is. It is indeed. One I want to remember and… tried to here.

I love everything about this. In the last few weeks it has struck me how awed I am at the reverence others have for my children and their little friends at church. Faith in part or me is putting trust in that reverence for I will not always be there. Beautiful words and a beautiful being you have in your pastor.

(A) That is a beautiful picture.
(B) This is a beautiful piece. It somehow got me crying, too. Maybe I’m even weepier than you? It’s possible. But what a sweet thought, the thought of my children being prayed over by another person and at a time when I so constantly see their fragility. I don’t think I’ve ever had that pleasure. I have certainly been much more emotional about my children since the Newtown shootings, fully getting now that saying about children being the equivalent to your heart walking around on the outside of you. Anyway, a lovely piece.

Coming from an agnostic multi-faith household, I never really grasped prayer. It was just something people said to let their (usually not quite so deep, more superficial) desires to be heard and known albeit kind of passive aggressively.

Until my very Christian grandmother came and prayed over Kiedis when he was in the NICU, the day after he almost died and the Mennonite nurse held my hand and prayed with/for me/him. To this day, I have never been so moved in my life.

It clicked. When you have such faith, prayer can be one of the greatest gifts you bestow upon another. And my grandma’s love for me and my tiny baby was so crushingly beautiful, I could barely breathe.

So, I’ve been there. It’s overwhelming in the best way.

“It’s overwhelming in the best way.” Yet another great way to put it.

Thanks for sharing that here. Have you ever written about it? I’d love to read it.

I’ve heard this idea, which I discovered at Momastery…but yeah…all you have to do to deserve all of your blessings is simply to be born. You deserve it all, lady, because you are You. I believe it.

What a beautiful post. Silent Night gets me every time as well.

I cried like a baby when Bubby brought home a paper from school and it asked what Christmas meant to him. He wrote “Being with my family and praying to God.” It was the first time I realized HE really got it. This praying thing. My heart melted into a puddle.

P.S. Love the pic – purple is my favorite color!

That is my “office sweater.” It’s a sweater I bought a few years ago. It’s kind of worn and raggedy, but omg, so comfy. Purple is my mom’s favorite color. I try to add bits and pieces of it on occasion.

Beautifully said, Jenna. From one crier to another, I feel you. Sometimes I get choked up about my son and wonder why the heck life is so good to me and how it came to be that this little guy gives me so much joy. I’m especially grateful whenever I hear about other people’ struggles, either with health or their family troubles, and of course any sort of loss like the Newtown tragedy you mentioned. Cry on, mama!

Wow, there is so much to love here. Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. I don’t tend to be weepy much, but prayers and songs surprise me sometimes with tears.This post is amazing and beautifully written, as are the other posts I’ve devoured since finding your site this morning. I would probably follow your site just because I positively adore the colorful dots design, so it’s a bonus that I love your content as well!

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