Tradition. For me, for whatever reason, it smacks of some weird stuff. Like putting salt on watermelon and eating pig intestines stuffed with other leftover ground pig parts. But last Sunday, with the help of my daughter, Anna, I saw something that made more sense to me.
It’s our deal (God’s and mine) that I cuss, keep wine openly in my house (instead of under the truck seat), and say spiteful things. God loves me anyway and gives me the opportunity to repent, or at least feel really bad. I do most of my repenting on Sundays and have always dragged my young ones along, though I know they are perfect.
Anna, my special needs daughter, loves church. She loves the routine, the singing, the prayers, the “God Talk” as she puts it. This past Sunday we had lots of folks in town. I knew we wouldn’t be making church unless the whole crew was going. By mid-morning it wasn’t looking good. So I told Anna, “Sweetie, we’re not going to make church today.”
Her eyes welled up; her lip trembled. She looked down. She rubbed her hands together. Though she didn’t protest, she was sad. Going to church on Sunday morning, she understands. In a world that moves so much faster than she does, this she understands.
She is comforted by God, the ritual, the habit, the tradition. Exactly what she gets from the service, I am not sure. But I see she is settled and confident in what is going to happen. I have to put my own desire for disruption aside for that lovely face singing words she may not understand, half a breath after I sing the words, as she sings from my words, not the hymnal. Maybe she understands exactly as well as I understand.
We both seek comfort in the end, and maybe that’s what tradition is about. And THAT, I understand.