March 25, 2012


Last week, I sat next to an 11 year old boy in church. He goes to church on alternate weekends when he is with his father and stepmother.

He started out by timing how long his toddler brother would last -- four minutes as it turned out. When it was time to sing, he did not open the hymnal but he did look on with me. I don't know if he was singing or not, but I think he was humming along sometimes. During the confession through the scripture, he took the bulletin apart and start carefully folding it. I thought he was making a paper airplane but I was wrong. During the sermon, he handed me a lovely origami butterfly, made out of the page in the bulletin with the church's prayer list. I don't know that he thought this was significant but I did. I thought of all those people on that list, cocooned in illness and trouble and loss, and the folded paper seemed to me a prayer for all them. It was a prayer that they would be transformed, that there would some new life and beauty for them, and the prayer was shaped by the hand of a little boy.

I don't know what he got out of that service, but I do know what a blessing it was for me to sit next to him.