Archive | February, 2015

A sweet Story

23 Feb

by Stephanie J Grace

aka Stephanie Becken

When my son was born 4 years ago, our first outing was to church. Our home congregation is one I treasure. They aren’t just people I see on Sunday, they are my friends, my family. That morning, Tanner was maybe 5 days old, just itty bitty, but everyone had been waiting to meet him–I couldn’t stay home! I remember one of the ladies, a doctor, said something about protecting newborns from germs, even as she cooed over him. It was special.

Fast forward to the busy toddler years, and Tanner was a well known fixture. To make it even better, there were 3 other little boys born the same month, so Tanner and his buddies were chief smile-bringers and joyful noise makers. Children’s message time had become a time to watch the boys–what would they do this time?

At that time, our church had two pastors, Ed and David. As soon as Tanner could talk, he called them ‘god’. The pastors were so wonderful about this–they always corrected him and said something about how it was special they could worship and praise God together, but helped him say their names. Tanner ended up calling them a hybrid of names–god, god-Dave, god-Ed–though usually, Dave got called Ed and vice versa.

Then Ed got sick. Very sick. Tanner was about 3 when he notice the Sr Pastor no longer came to church. Ed had been diagnosed with cancer, and did best at home between treatments. Tanner asked Dave where God was every Sunday. Pr Dave was so good with Tanner, and he’d tell him he was sure Ed missed him, too.

Ed died in June after a hard fight with cancer. I still miss him, and so do my kids. Shortly after Ed passed, Dave took a new job at another church. We miss him, too. A new pastor came in to help our congregation transition to a new path. His name is Pastor Ralph, and right from the start, Tanner called him Pastor Ralph. He likes the ‘f’ sound. I thought that because of Tanner’s age, he had a better understanding of identity, hence, he always called Pastor Ralph by his name.

This week, that changed. Tanner celebrated his 4th birthday this week, and in major birthday mindset, started asking about everyone’s birthday. He asked when ‘god’s’ birthday was. I thought he meant Jesus at Christmas. Nope. He meant Ralph. “When is God’s birthday? We should make him a cake. He really likes my glasses. Do you think he’ll eat soup at church with us like god Dave did?”

At church this week, Tanner, who had called Pr Ralph by name for months, chased after him, wanting a hug from god. I reminded Tanner of his name, and I will keep reminding him. I know Ralph will help, too, but I’m going to treasure this while it lasts.

My son sees God in the people who love him, and he’s pretty sure everyone loves him. I want that to last forever, and for him to grow into a person who tries to be the same for others. Tanner is little and innocent, and learning about God in a faith community that loves him and all the little ones who come to worship and grow.

I had a good cry today, remembering Ed and Dave, especially Ed, who baptized my kids, gave me my first communion, and answered dozens of faith questions for me. When my middle daughter was a toddler, he’d stop by our pew on his way out of the sanctuary, and share a pretzel from her snack bag.  I have hundreds of church stories, and they’re on my mind.

I’m also prayerful and thankful for my church family–including Pr. Ralph, who is going to have a Tanner on his  tail for a while. With birthday cake and lots of questions.

All the best,