I stand outside the pastor’s office at church like a delinquent student waiting to see the principal. With time on my hands, I put my powers of observation to work. I’m reminded of school days because the office is in the lower level of the church in a hallway made of cinderblock painted a glossy pastel blue. Through open doorways, I see colorful wall murals in cheerful classrooms proclaiming, “Jesus loves me.” I’m sure the pastor chose this noisy hallway for his office because of the ample window to the northern sky. Sunlight is streaming through the sheer curtain into the hall from the glass in his door.
As I wait, I notice the busy parents as they shepherd children to appropriate classrooms. They are distracted as they rush to drop their children off, but meet my gaze on their way back up the hall to climb the stairs to the big church. Many offer a smile, and most, “good-morning” or “hello.”
I witness a particularly touching moment as a mother in her Sunday best approaches the stairs with a small boy. He is very young but an experienced walker with a wispy halo of fine blond hair. They walk past sweetly murmuring to one another, the boy’s tiny palm in his mother’s hand. This image alone is sweet but then from around the corner, the father appears. He is a tall, broad man with a shaved head, but his eyes are soft. He sees his family and gently smiles asking the boy if he’s going to “big” church. Mother and son close the distance and they turn to ascend the stairs. As the trio climbs together, the small boy, without a word raises up his tiny hand. The father without hesitation reaches down to hold it gently in his grasp. What faith that boy has in his father so early in life, knowing whenever he reaches, his father’s hand will be there.