Dennis and I started a routine, years ago at Grace Lutheran, where we’d go on coffee dates while the kids were in Sunday school. In Hillcrest, there were many fun little coffee shops we could walk to and also a Farmer’s Market that included a few coffee vendors. It was a delightful time and we both looked forward to it! Especially when the kids were small and we needed some time to connect without little ears and voices contributing to the conversation.
When we transferred to Gloria Dei Lutheran this summer, we reinstated our coffee dates by driving to the Starbucks down the street, while the kids were in Sunday school. Our rationale that we need time in the week to connect and talk to one another is a little less relevant now. Between the pandemic and Dennis being a stay-at-home parent, we have plenty of opportunities to connect.
I started to wonder: Maybe we should stay and attend ABC (Adult Bible Class) during the Sunday school hour instead of going on our coffee date? During the sermon this past Sunday, Pastor Horn made a couple appeals to the congregation to attend ABC following the service. The readings were so rich and full of gospel lessons, he was particularly excited to unpack them in more detail. After his second reference to the class, Dennis and I looked across Sienna and made eye contact. “Let’s stay for the bible study,” I whispered.
“I need my coffee,” Dennis whispered back.
“We can go after class with the kids…” I offered.
“Okay,” Dennis nodded and agreed.
After the divine service, the kids scurried off to their classes while the adults caught up with one another in the fellowship hall. Dennis then carried our godson, Leo into the sanctuary for ABC. Our friend Brandon, a.k.a. Leo’s dad, and I joined them in the pew, right up front. Leo is 17 months old and such a delightful little guy! He sat on Dennis’s lap for a bit, then cuddled between us on the pew.
About halfway through class, Leo was back in Dennis arms and feel asleep. We joke that Dennis is the “baby whisperer” because seriously all babies and toddlers LOVE him! It’s just the sweetest thing.
Toward the end of class, Pastor concluded his comments on Ephesians 2:4-7: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seating us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” and John, chapter 3. Pastor said, “Jesus is always right there beside you, ready to answer your prayers. He’s always holding you close, just like that…” he pointed to Leo asleep in Dennis’s arms. “See how he’s sleeping in such peace because he knows he’s being held and he’s safe? That’s how close Jesus holds us.”
Tears sprang to my eyes as I silently prayed, “Thank you Lord for putting us here in this moment.” I felt such peace that we’d opted for Bible study instead of our coffee date this week!
Class ended and a lovely woman in the congregation came by to tell Dennis and me, “Oh, your baby is so sweet!” We giggled as I told her, “Oh, he’s our godson, but thank you! This is his father…” I gestured to Brandon and we all smiled, basking in the joy of the moment.
Time and again, I discover that peace and joy spontaneously occur when I stop striving. When I allow the day to unfold and let go of my plans, tender moments of connection have the chance to happen. They truly are the moments that matter.