A Cherry Flavored Dum-Dum

With all of the posts and pictures I have seen on Facebook of my friends kids and grand-kids’  first day of school this week, I began thinking about my kids’ first days…. This was actually my youngest sons “last” first day of School…. and MY ….. “last”  first day of school as well.   I have 2 sons, 12 years apart, so needless to say I have been doing the “first” day of school thing for several years…..24 years to be exact!   THAT is a LOT of first days…

Several of those First days never turned out how I had imagined them in my head.   When Justin, my oldest, went to his first day of Kindergarten I just KNEW that I would have to pry him off of my leg because he didn’t want me to leave him….. or… that I would have to get him occupied doing something so I could sneak out unnoticed.

We walked into his classroom that day with all those nice new school supplies stacked so neatly in his little cigar style school box,  his Big Chief Tablet and his nap rug with a big smile on his face and a worried look on mine.   We looked around at all of the colorful posters on the wall…. the welcome to school theme on the bulletin boards…. the books, chalk, erasers and the big teachers desk …..We met the teacher……and then finally…. we found HIS name on a desk!!

Wow…. look that is YOUR name Justin!!!  His eyes grew wider with the realization that the teacher…. or someone …. knew his name and saved him a special spot of his own.   I then helped him arrange his supplies in his desk….of course…. his idea and mine about how it should fit, didn’t seem to be the same… but…it was HIS desk.  As my little 5 year old sat down in his first desk of his first day of his school career, I began to prepare him of the fact that I was going to have to go to work…. that he is going to have to stay here….. all day…. by himself…. but he is  big boy…. and I will be at Grandmas to pick him up after I get off of work to hear all about his first day of school!!!

It was like he was in a trance or something as he said…. “ok Mom…. I’ll see you later….”
Surely he didn’t hear me…. or understand me… probably in shock or just trying to be brave for his mom…. so as I stood up I repeated to him that I was now leaving... that I have to go…that he is going to have to stay…….all day…… by himself…..

“Ok Mom…. bye… love you too…. ”

As I slowly backed  my way to the door I repeated…”Goodbye Justin…. I’m leaving now”…. to each he would reply with that cute little grin of his and a quick little wave…. “Ok Mom….. bye….love you too!”

As I got into my car, my emotions jumped from
Sadness…. my baby is in school… all grown up now…. not my baby now…life is going to be different than it was….
Pride… what a big boy he was today… he didn’t cry or pitch a fit at all… he just marched in there like a little man…. sat down … ready for a brand new adventure….
Unbelief….OMGosh…he didn’t even care that I was leaving…..he is not even going to miss me even a little bit…. he doesn’t love me any more…..!

Now….. the BEFORE School started…. the few weeks before enrollment….the day we had to go to the clinic and get the required vaccinations … now THAT was a different story!

We pulled up to the clinic and he really wasn’t sure WHERE we were or  WHY we were there….. I wasn’t about to tell him that because the thought of a “shot” and a needle…. was not something I wanted to deal with before …. during …. or after our visit.
Needless to say…my arm…. my neck…. my leg….. was grabbed and held on to very tightly from the time his name was called by the lady in the nurses uniform and the door was shut behind us……until the time that Cherry Flavored Dum-Dum was in his mouth and we were safely out of the little room, sitting in the waiting room for the necessary amount of time that would confirm he had no reactions.  The fact that this was for his own good and he was now,  inoculated from some very serious and life threatening diseases, and not simply a torture procedure was far from his thinking.

As we were sitting there…. we could hear a car pull up and through the closed doors of the clinic…we can hear a faint…… wail…. I assumed that maybe a child was hurt … or possibly just wasn’t happy about something that had happened in the car.  As the door of the clinic opened the “wail” became more of a scream… there was an urgency to the scream… along with the begging words of please… please ….please…. don’t make me do this… the bargaining of I promise …I promise…. I promise…that were trying to be blocked out by the father who was trying to answer the receptionist questions.

I was VERY glad at that moment that we had gotten here BEFORE she did!!!

It was very apparent that the very building… the front door… the whole atmosphere of  the Clinic was a source of bad memories for this little girl.  She had been there before and had a very bad experience and that memory was very much still etched deeply in here mind….. Or…. she was told hours or minutes before her arrival why she was coming here and what was going to happen to her when she got here…. The very thought of the pain and discomfort of a Dr or a Nurse… poking her with a needle was more than she could handle…

As all these memories flooded back to me…. I thought….
I bet some Non-Christians…. Non-Believers….. Non-Church goers have this same mentality of Church.

Some …. like Justin may not have been told where or why we are going and until ….. the door closes and the man dressed in the Preacher clothes begins to make things uncomfortable for us…. sticking us with sharp pains that hurt…. deep…and until we are outside in the foyer… shaking hands with people that were so glad we came did we finally realize…. it didn’t really hurt that bad.
….and then there are those who have either been there before and have been hurt…have had bad experiences there in the past….or have heard all the horror stories of what they will do to people like them if they ever even walk into the building….that pulling into the driveway throws them into a panic state.   Screaming…. begging… promising to do ANYTHING but make me go in there!

Are we apart of that memory?
Am I apart of that memory?

I believe…. that we might want to keep this analogy in mind the next time we invite someone or we see someone new walk into the doors of our church… treat them gently… hold their hand… let them grab on to the arm…. or leg…. of your strength, for comfort and reassurance, that although it may be uncomfortable for awhile… it will get better… easier….. the pain will lift after awhile and will be replaced with the comfort of knowing that they have been inoculated from a very serious and life threatening disease …..

….. and just maybe….just…. maybe…..a Cherry Flavored Dum-Dum to boot!


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