Okay, so we’re sitting in church on Sunday, like you do, and the sermon is well underway. This is a church that is new to us, but more on that in another post. Anyway, my son Pat suddenly begins making a noise. It’s sort of a gasping, repeated, quick-inhaling kind of a noise. Now, he’s a bit of a sensitive boy, and the sermon was about cultivating relationships with other people through their, and possibly our own, loneliness. This is a topic that could very easily hit home with the boy due to his own social awkwardness. Dad mode activates, and I check on his well being, believing that he might be starting to cry.
“You okay son?”
“Yeah, I just thought of something funny.”
“Well get it together, dude.”
Dude did not get it together.
He continued his silent, barely-keeping-it-together laughing fit, for a little bit too long. Long enough that his older sister, sitting next to him also became concerned, and also assumed him to be crying. She made a sympathetic sad face and held his hand. Which made him laugh even harder, and threatened to make me laugh as well.
At this point, it’s getting uncomfortable for yours truly. People in other pews are starting to notice. Now I have to take action. It is a well known fact to pretty much all mankind that once a laughing fit starts, it is nearly impossible to stop, especially when one is in a situation where one is not supposed to be laughing. Like a school lecture, or, say, a church you’ve just started attending, are still feeling out, and you are trying to make a good impression.
The only thing left to do was ride it out, so I put my arm around the boy, looking every bit like the consoling Dad, pulled him in close and let him laugh it out into my chest. Anyone observing would have thought I was whispering something loving into his ear, like “It’s okay, buddy. We can talk about this later if you want. Let it out.” But I was really all like, “Come on man, focus, this is ridiculous. You’re missing good stuff here, pay attention.”
With the fit over, we made it through to the end of the service with no other issues. Until, on the way out of the worship center, Pat asked big sister Tessa why she took his hand. She said something about how she was concerned about him since he was crying so much. She’s got a good heart, she does. Then he told her that he wasn’t crying, but laughing.
“WHAT? I was so worried. I held your hand, man! I thought you were GOING THROUGH IT!” She was appalled. Which started the laughing all over again.
And that is how my family makes an impression on a new church.