The Sand Bucket

When I was at the beach last weekend, I noticed a young dad playing in the sand with his son who looked to be about three years old. He was teaching him how to build a sand castle. The activity held the boy's attention for a little bit, but after a while, he just wanted to play. The dad needed to rinse the sand off and grabbed hold of his son's hand to go the shower which wasn't more than 20 feet away. The young boy pulled away and ran back to his toys which he left at the water's edge. The dad yelled to him, "Leave your bucket - we're coming right back." The boy stopped in mid-stoop, looked curiously at his dad, then at his bucket. The dad reached for his hand again, and the boy went with him, but never took his eyes off that bucket. It was obvious what was going through his mind: "Mom tells me that if I leave my toys, someone might take them. Why is dad telling me something different?"

Trust is as difficult for an adult to develop as it is for a 3-year old. In order to trust someone, you have to give up control of a situation, and that uncertainty involves risk and possibly failure. Fear of the unknown often leads to inaction, or at the least, just doing what everyone does.  Learning whom and what to trust are part of growing up, as our WHAM graduates will quickly learn, and making mistakes comes with the territory. Sometimes, however, trust means simply getting out of your comfort zone.

Here at church, we certainly seek your trust by asking you to choose between options that we offer. Standing when you're used to kneeling helps you prayer differently. Joining the Adult Forum - even when you don't know anyone in the room - provides community as well as formation. Participating in the parish picnic liturgy - even if you aren't a fan of country music - allows you to understand how secular music can indeed be sacred. Leadership in the Eucharist - as a reader, an acolyte, a LEM - makes your Sunday morning experience quite unique. Taking part in a mission trip, an outreach event, or simply cooking for the soup kitchen, opens your eyes - and heart - to a world where struggling is a way of life.

There are no right or wrong answers here, just choices. It's okay to kneel and not stand. It's okay to have coffee in the parlor instead of going to the Adult Forum. It's okay to enjoy the solemnity of the 8am Eucharist over the sometimes noisy and chaotic 9am outdoor service. It's okay to be part of the congregation rather than a leader of it. It's okay to write a check supporting outreach instead of finding out where your money goes.

But sometimes you have to leave the bucket behind and trust it will be there when you get back. By stepping out of the box, taking that leap of faith, being the leader rather than the follower, doing something different, means that you trust those who have provided you with the options. Eventually you will learn when you should keep an eye on that bucket and when you can look away. You'll never know until you try.