Frustrated. Annoyed. Upset. Angry. Those are some of the feelings that have been brewing inside lately. Normally I don’t stay upset for very long but this particular situation at church has me boiling over. Unfortunately it doesn’t feel like these feelings are going away any time soon either.
I spent most of this past Saturday morning at church running some wires with N so that Tary and I (and presumably anyone else in the nursery) would be able to hear the message. I was tired of the House Committee (HC) failing to get the speakers fixed when they suddenly stopped working in the “old” nursery. I was tired of the HC failing to get the speakers installed when a pair of lightly-used classrooms was repurposed as the “new” nursery. I was tired of the HC failing to get the speakers installed after bringing up the topic at last year’s annual church business meeting. I was tired that both Tary and I have not been able to simultaneously listen to a single sermon for more than a year and a half. Of course someone could volunteer to sacrifice hearing the message for a week and watch our kids for us in the nursery but how could we enjoy the service if we heard Daniel screaming the entire time through the floor?
I figured the only way to get things done was to take ownership of the problem and volunteer to help N run whatever wires were needed. Then I was upset to find out that other members in the HC wanted to run a live video/audio feed on a TV screen instead of simply running speaker wire in the “new” nursery. Then I was even more upset to hear there were discussions about painting a mural in one of the nursery rooms. What?! I just wanted to be able to HEAR the service. No one bothered to ask what we thought about all of this. Whatever, I thought. I guess I didn’t mind these “improvements” as long as they did not delay getting the speakers working.
So here I was on Saturday morning ready to run whatever video/audio cables were needed. I was very disappointed to find out that we did not have a cable needed to run from the computer room to the nursery. I also disappointed that the wrong faceplate was ordered that would connect the camcorder upstairs to the computer room downstairs. Sigh. I tried to make the best of that time and help out where I could. I got up on a ladder and pulled out some old cables from the drop ceiling. I helped run a pair of new cables the length of the building. During one point I fell off the ladder and let it slide because I was able to safely land on my feet. A few others helped out that day taking down the old bulletin boards, picking up random things, and installing safety covers over the power outlets in the nursery. I even patched a bunch of holes in the rooms where the screws holding up the old bulletin boards used to be.
As we wrapped up that Saturday, I talked with B about the possibility of using only the 1st room at the foot of the stairs as the new nursery instead of using the two rooms. I figured that since no one has used the nursery in years other than Tary and myself, why waste an extra classroom that could be used for Sunday School or for Vacation Bible School (VBS). Before any of the real work began, I didn’t want to consume more space than we really needed. B said he would discuss it with the HC the following day.
Fast-forward to the following day, Super Bowl Sunday. We got to church and I was incredibly annoyed to hear that C was downstairs sketching on the walls in one of the two nursery rooms. Why would he do that if we’re still discussing moving the nursery to another room? Was it even discussed with the HC?! I ran downstairs and asked if C was even aware of my proposal. He answered no, he was not aware. We had a rather lengthy conversation and I explained my frustration at the present situation. I was annoyed by his responses that he was not aware of any prior history with the room but that he feels a sense of urgency in this group and was happy that progress was being made. I continued to say that though the others mean well, they are not focused on the correct priorities for us. People keep making decisions on our behalf without ever asking for our feedback and never stopping to consider what we need done. I told him that at the end of the day, it has been way too long since we’ve both been able to hear God’s Word and I wonder what the point of even coming to church sometimes is.
That’s when B came into the room and said that he did talk to the HC and they did not want to go with my proposal citing safety and heat-related reasons. He explained that they were afraid a stranger could walk into the building, go downstairs, and run off with a kid in the nursery because it is the first room they see. I said that that was highly unlikely considering the nursery has always been supervised by either me or Tary. He also said that the room got warm quickly. The rooms downstairs are generally cold during the winter months so having a warmer nursery isn’t a bad thing in my mind. So I do not agree with any of those reasons. Honestly I think those reasons were just excuses to not backtrack on their prior decisions on the current nursery.
It was later in the morning. I was now sitting in the nursery alone with both of my kids. I was so far beyond upset at this point. It is not good to feel this way in church but it was what it was. Daniel has been acting out a lot more lately ever since Matthew has been born. It could be his way of seeking more attention or simply because he’s approaching those wonderful 2′s. He was happily playing until he suddenly started crying out for Mommy. I rushed to put Matthew down and try to soothe Daniel but it was no use. He somehow busted the inside of his lip with all of that kicking and screaming. He then pooped and my patience quickly ran out struggling to change his diaper.
Tary heard all of the commotion from upstairs and came down to help. Daniel finally calmed down and she was able to change his diaper. Sigh. Another message where neither one of us could hear the message. The message was over but I did not bother to go upstairs to join the congregation for communion. What’s the point of showing up there when it doesn’t feel like anyone else cares about our feelings right now?
That evening we went to Tary’s parents’ house to watch Super Bowl XLVI. Unfortunately our frustrations did not stop with church. Prior to the game we all gathered in the family room to eat. Tary was trying to feed Daniel his dinner but he insisted on playing instead and started crying. Instead of helping, Tary’s dad tried bribing Daniel with some lychee-flavored jelly snacks. Tary moved Daniel into the living room to try to feed him in a quiet area away from the TV and everyone else. Again Tary’s dad undermined her by interrupting her and then chided her parenting for letting Daniel cry for so long. She was very hurt by this and I felt awful for her when she returned to the family room. I was hoping that she would want us to just get our stuff and go home but we ended up staying. Of course the game’s outcome did not help things either by I will share my thoughts on that later.
So it’s been a few days later and I’m still upset. I have tentative plans to return to church this weekend to finish installing the remaining wires. I really hope the missing parts have been ordered and arrive in time this week. But like every time before, I’ll believe it when I see it. We’ve felt so starved of the Word and we have been ignored for far too long. I feel so betrayed that a church that I’ve attended almost weekly for nearly 25 years has not made it a priority to address our needs. I am so tired of others telling us what we *might* want instead of listening to what we *actually* need. Unfortunately if this situation continues, we’ll have to make the tough decision to find another church which can better provide for the needs of our family.