52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Bells

I struggle taking the boys to church on Sundays my husband works. It’s just so much easier when we’re both here to get things moving, to get us out the door on time, to get us in the pew and separate the boys so we can parent one-on-one during service. When he’s not here, we run late. I run out of patience before we get out the door. I struggle to answer the not-quite-whispered question of one child while helping the other kid follow along in the bulletin. In these moments, I keenly miss his presence; he balances out our family.

We went to church on Sunday, despite the hideous time change and the lack of husband. I’m glad we did.

The bell choir played.

I love our bell choir. I love the hum and the din of the bells. I love watching the ringers’ faces as they nail a particularly tricky page turn or hit the rhythm just perfectly. I love closing my eyes and letting the music wash over me, not just the beauty of the sound itself but the peace that I find in my faith.

The boys love the bells.

LittleBrother looked up at me with big eyes and not whispered, “Can I go sit at the end so I can see?”

I nodded, and off he scuttled to sit next to his brother. He still couldn’t see as the man who sits in front of us is a tall drink of water.


He looked at his brother and not whispered, “Would you let me sit on the end so I can see?”

Without hesitation, they switched. BigBrother then realized he couldn’t quite see either, so they smooshed together, ever so carefully. Smooshed together, pressed against the hard wooden end of the pew, they watched. Intently. They didn’t look away once. Neither brother pushed the other one away, complained about sharing space or air. They took in the music, they watched the faces, their faces alight with the joy that only music brings.

Smooshed, Watching

I forgot to watch the faces of the bell choir this week. I didn’t catch how carefully they pulled the bells into their bodies to silence the sound. I didn’t see who had the melody and who brought in a beautiful, deep harmony. I didn’t watch the director both direct and play; a magic feat that usually blows my mind!

Instead, I watched two little boys watch a bell choir play. Smooshed so close, together in only the way that siblings can be, their faces full of joy and awe and beauty and youth and love.

I’m so glad we went to church. Together.



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6 Replies to “52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with the Bells”

  1. Oh how I love this. Our church rings a bell before and after the prayers of the people or whatever it’s called. It’s our favorite part. I think we’d all freak if there was a bell choir. The world needs more bells.

  2. Please let me know next time there is a bell choir. They are my absolute favorite and I would even go to church to see that.

  3. My son plays in his elementary school’s great bell choir (for 6th graders and up) and I think his younger brother will too! I’m sure your boys would LOVE to see this choir because it’s composed of children not too much older than them! Lovely post!

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