Under the Pew


The grand girl’s played hard basketball today, dosed well with decongestant strips and Tylenol Meltaways.

While she bathes, I fill a plastic container with popped corn, sprinkle it with some of the white cheddar seasoning she likes. (This is the second bag. Did you know that hot popped corn will melt a baggie?)

I slip the container into a small cloth bag, the one she painted in Sunday School, along with a stick of cheese, a small bottle of Sprite, a couple of packs of tissue, napkins, a little bag of gobstoppers and a ziplock bag for trash.

She slips on some comfy black sweats, her pink Mackinac Island T-shirt, topped with a fuscia and blue fleece jacket. She hugs her pink princess blanket, and we drive to church where she curls up next to me, head on my shoulder, mid-center pew, to watch The Gospel of John in a darkened sanctuary with banging furnace pipes.

Soon we’re engrossed in the story of Jesus’ life, though we whisper throughout. She asks questions and keeps a running count of the miracles. She’s shocked at Jesus’ anger at the money changers.

I follow the water–baptismal water, wine water, healing water, well water–and a thirsty Savior.

Grace winces at the whip lashes and gasps when the soldier plunges the spear, gags a little as the blood and water ooze. She asks if it was all that bad, and I tell her that it was much worse. I tell her how some believe that gush was a sign of a broken heart–and that Jesus did it all for her.

When the movie’s over, she kneels on the rose carpet to pick up stray popcorn kernels.

I point to the front left pew and tell her that’s the place.

Papa and her mom, when she was younger than Grace, sat there when I sang in the choir. I tell her how Papa was engrossed in the sermon and how from my seat I could see her mother under the pew–with a pencil. I could not catch Papa’s attention for several minutes.

She asks if she can go look, and I say sure. And so she crawls under the pew and starts giggling. “Mama wrote her ABC’s!”

“Really? That’s there? Nuh-uh!”

My husband crawls under and confirms, and Grace can hardly wait to tell her mom how she made her Y and J backwards.

On In Around button


  1. says

    Oh, I love this story – every single bit of it! Those connections over time are so special – and I guarantee she will remember this night a long, long time.

    • Sandra says

      It struck me after I posted this that it was not the E or the B. It was the J (Jesus) and the Y (Yahweh.) We *are* asked to live kind of a backwards life from the rest of the world.

  2. says

    Oh, Sandy. This is such a special story. I’m picturing her on her knees, picking up the popcorn after being so moved by the telling. And then she gets that sweet surprise of seeing her roots. Right there. In that pew. Wonderful. Now that is a gift.

  3. Connie@raise your eyes says

    What a treasure find! Agreeing with Laura about Grace seeing her roots-right there-in a space hidden for decades from zealous church cleaning crews!

  4. says

    Oh how i LOVE this story. For many reasons, but mainly because of the longevity and consistency of living in one place so long. I moved around so much as a child that nowhere feels like home. What a blessing you are to that grandchild of yours.