Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Stone

We have visited Austin on Sunday a number of times during our Tejas time.  We love going to Austin, both to see friends, and to go to the "Austin Stone". 

"The Stone" -  a bar or a church? You decide.

Only totally vibey churches have a name that could easily go either way. 

We enjoy the preaching/teaching, we love seeing good friends of ours lead worship, we love having lunch together afterward - it is one perk of being in central Texas.

The Stone is a large church.  Like most large churches there is a labyrinth of mazes and flow charts and equations that must be completed in order to figure out what room each of your children needs to be dropped off to for kids church.  Due to our family size, we must arrive shortly after sunrise just to allow the time necessary to figure out where to bring each of our children.

Not unlike many mega-churches, you get a claim number to get your kid back at the end of the service.  I understand the need for this. I recognize that we live in a day and age where you cannot be too careful.  I am not ripping the number system.  I am only saying, the number system does not work for everyone.  Some of us are not to be trusted with so much.

Today we were given three numbers.  One for Phoebe, one for Lydia, one for Isaac, Hope and Noah combined.  We enjoyed the sermon and the worship and chatted a few moments after the service.  I asked Troy who he wanted, we always divide and conquer.  He said he would get big kids and meet me at the little kids wing after he was done.  He handed me the two laminated number cards.

Paige and I headed out into a very crowded area, I put the numbers in my back pocket. We slowly zigged and zagged our way toward the steps.  We made a bathroom pit-stop after we got downstairs.  I did what you do when you go into a restroom.  Once finished I stood up, flushed, glanced down and ... OH.NO.

One of my claim cards was in the vortex of toilet water and urine about to disappear forever.

I had no time to reason it out or to consider which of the two children I might never see again. I only knew that one time many years ago at 'Open Door' in Minnesota (see - church or bar name?) they would not give me my kids when I lost my number ... and in that nano-second I made the decision to plunge my hand into a public restroom toilet to retrieve my laminated card.

My soaking wet hand prevented me from getting my pants buttoned. I said "Paige, this is disgusting, you won't believe it."  I stumbled out to quickly get soap on my hand and the card ... only to find - soap.dispenser.empty. My next idea of scalding off the top layer of my own skin was not an option either,  the high-school bathroom I was using only offered cold water.

I convinced Paige to stop telling me how disgusting and embarrassing I am and to just dry off the card and go get the girls with me.  As we walked I reached into my pocket to find the other claim card, it was missing. At that point I felt both irresponsible and gross.  As I walked toward the girls' wing of kids church it fell out of the bottom of my jeans.
I don't know. Don't ask.

We purposefully set the claim cards down in the box at the door, not forcing the poor volunteers to touch them. We gathered our two children and made for the exit to meet Troy and the other three kids.

Once to lunch with our friends I totally forgot about the whole plunging of my hand into a toilet that hundreds of women had used just that morning - that is - right up until Paige reminded me as I happily chatted with my friend and ate my chips and salsa. 

I like stories with happy endings.

This is not one of them.