The kids are doing their annual Primary presentation this coming Sunday in church. The one time every year ALL the kids get to do present the entire program during church, with lots of songs, and lots of cute little kids getting a prized chance to use a microphone. The kids have been practicing these songs for MONTHS, and the older ones are all saying "ENOUGH already!!" But they're all being good sports about it, patiently waiting for next Sunday.
So today Stephen took a little invitation to his preschool teacher, and told her he was singing on Sunday about families, and he wanted her to come. She graciously turned down his invitation, explaining that she also went to church at the same time somewhere else. OK, Stephen thinks, no big deal. Then the teacher "explains" to me that she is Lutheran, and she has her own church. As we drive out of the parking lot, I'm thinking -- OK, so she's not coming to the program because she also has church at 9am on Sunday? Or is it because she's a Lutheran? And if it's the second reason, why is that a reason for not coming to the program? Are Lutherans not ALLOWED to visit other church buildings?? I don't get it. My son just wanted her to come watch him sing. I didn't tell him he had to invite her, he chose to himself. He likes his teacher a lot and talks about her often. He wanted to share this part of his young life with her. It's a big event, and he's very proud of it.
Well, we're driving home, with these thoughts going through my mind, and I start crying. I feel jilted for Stephen. He, thankfully, is oblivious to the whole political drama in all this, he's just thinking about what he wants to eat for lunch when we get home -- peanut butter & jelly or chicken nuggets? But I'm crying. Stupid mom. Just follow your son's example and get over it! It's not like this is the first time someone has turned down an invitation to this program. Heck, my children and I have been inviting friends and neighbors to this annual event for six years, and every invitation has been turned down every time.
And I cry more.
Why are so many people afraid of walking into a church? Why are so many people afraid of walking into a different church? Can't they see-- it's just a little boy who wants to sing for them, to smile for them, to say, "Look at me! I'm so big!"
Recently, my neighbor (who, btw, has herself turned down these invitations for 5 years running) was talking with me about how my religion gets bashed so much, and she has even noticed people do this to my face. And I just smile and don't say anything. "Doesn't that bother you?? I couldn't stand it if someone said that to me." she said to me. "It doesn't bother me anymore," I told her. I've grown up listening to people bash my religion my entire life. By now I know absolutely what's true about my religion and what's not, and just because someone bashes or spreads lies and rumors or refuses invitations and discussions doesn't change what's true. I've just gotten used to those things.
But today I realized that -- yes -- sometimes it still does hurt.