Friday, May 01, 2015

Thoughts on First Communion

As we prepare for John's First Communion, I think back to our first First Communion. Here's what I learned . . .

Six years ago I spent weeks and weeks preparing for Tim’s First Communion. I had him pick out the tablecloths. I labored over the menu. I gathered a dozen of my favorite photos of Tim to decorate the tables.

Then came the actual week of First Communion. Things began to go south quickly. I was eight weeks pregnant and scheduled for an ultrasound.

“Well, your dates may be a little off,” the sonographer began.

And I knew it was all over.

This was my fourth or fifth miscarriage, and I had heard the line about the dates too many times before. Despite the inauspicious report, I continued on progesterone which left me bloated, moody, and unable to sleep.

This was the backdrop to a momentous sacrament of initiation. Despite the bleak circumstances, Tim still received the Eucharist.

Loads of family traveled to celebrate with us. Some arrived late, some arrived early, and I hardly slept in between. Despite my fatigue and irritability, Tim received the Eucharist.

I planned a dinner at a homey restaurant known for its excellent food. I had not eaten there for five years or so. In the interim homey had devolved into run-down with a similar decline in the quality of food. I was mortified. But Tim still received the Eucharist.

At the reception guests began to arrive an hour early. I was frantic. Rain stymied our plans to celebrate outside. I sent Dave to pick up some flowers, and he returned with the gaudiest bunch I have ever seen. The ribs were burned. I left the macaroni and cheese in the refrigerator. I neglected to buy enough drinks.

And Tim still received the Eucharist.

In an education course eons ago, I studied a technique known as “concept attainment.” Teachers present multiple lessons using different modes of learning all aimed at mastering a single concept.

God was clearly employing this tactic with me.

At the end of the day, it's not about tablecloths, flowers or even the beautiful white dress (as fun as that's going to be!).

It's about about receiving the Bread of Life.

We celebrated Kolbe's First Communion yesterday. It was a beautiful, solemn event followed by a simple party at the lake.

Compared to Tim's, the glitches were minor. Kolbe forgot his belt. One family hogged three double pews! Everyone dashed before I could snap a picture of four kids with decent haircuts and ironed clothing. John got into the cake.

Still the graces of today - and six years ago and a thousand years ago - were abundant and unchanging.

When we arrived at the lake, Kolbe announced, "I'm the First Communikid!"

Yes, you are, my sweet sunshine.

1 comment:

christinelaennec said...

What a great post. Not only "First Communikid" but your ability to see God's grace in what looked like a mess on a human level. Very inspiring.

When I was an active elder in church, I sometimes helped serve Communion. With the fiddly little glasses of wine, sitting in silver servers that stack one on top of the next, it was nervewracking at times. But our minister said, "The only thing that matters is that everyone who wants to take Communion, receives Communion."