I went to church on Sunday. It has been quite a long time since I did. The retired Minister of our former church was returning to speak and sell copies of his new book. Lisa and I always enjoyed Ed’s talks so we decided to attend. We made the kids come along too; I think it was a thought provoking for both of them.
We began going to the Unitarian-Universalist church in town together, before we were married. Ed officiated at our wedding. Kevin attended religious education classes up until we drifted away. Drew was just a toddler then. I guess we just stopped feeling like a part of the community. Communities tend to form of like minded individuals and my libertarian political outlook turned out to be a poor match for the more traditionally liberal politics of most of the members. I found myself becoming increasingly annoyed at the assumptions made by others; I sort of turned myself into an outsider I guess.
I wouldn’t call the weekly topics sermons. They were more like a how-to guide for everyday life. Ed has a knack for crafting his talks in a way that they often seemed to hit home no matter what your circumstances were at the given time. This Sunday was no exception.
The topic was the importance of ordinary everyday things.
We all have a tendency to remember the remarkable and extraordinary, the big days, weddings, graduations and such. We tend to gloss over the importance of the everyday things. That is until we lose them.
One of my frequent themes in here has been how I miss the little things. I don’t think so much about the big things that won’t happen. I think about the little everyday things that are gone forever. I remember Kevin’s smile, his walk and his sense of humor. I recall his two minute comedic rants that always began with “family meeting…” I smile when I read the text conversations preserved of my phone that are both too politically incorrect and too vulgar to repeat. I miss the stupid question mid-day phone calls. The way he’d plop down with us when I came in, or the way he’d howl with the dog.
When I wrote a story about the future Kevin won’t have I didn’t write about his wedding day or his college graduation, I wrote about him and his brother coaching a soccer game together as young parents. A simple, wonderful thing I do myself almost every week. I simple thing I expect I’ll miss a lot when I’m done.
You may not understand this now if your children are still young but it won’t be the big moments you reminisce over when they grow older. It will be the smile, the loving touch, the favorite toy, and the other little things.
It turns out I broke up at the end of the service. There was a final song; the lyrics were about a mother holding an infant, contemplating the child’s future. I couldn’t help but think “Sometimes they don’t live long enough to reach their potential, that doesn’t ever seem to be in the songs.”
I think it did me some good to cry a little. I almost wish I was in a place where I could have just let go, but I swallowed it, pulled myself together, to avoid a scene.
It was a good day for me.