Many of you are all like “Wait, what? There’s church on Wednesday nights? What kind of psycho cult are you involved in?” And I would be all like “I KNOW RIGHT?” Because Toni did not grow up doing the Wednesday Night Thing, not unless the Wednesday Night Thing was pretending to be having a hard time in the bathroom to get out of doing the dishes, and then feeling guilty about it later because I was catholic and that’s how we roll.
But stay with me good friends, because you’re about to get schooled in the typical weekday habits of the modern Baptist child: There’s church on Wednesday nights.
Wednesday–also known as the worst day of the week, the day where you’re exhausted from Monday and Tuesday but you still have to make it through Thursday and Friday, and Saturday is only 24 hours long and then there’s only seven more days until next Wednesday.
Hump day. Stupid, annoying, shootmeinthefacenow, cuss-worthy hump day. Except without an awesome talking camel unless you’re tripping, which I’ve been tempted to do a number of Wednesdays.
At my church, there is no end to the amount of good things available for a Christian to get involved in–it would seem mid-week is the ideal time for 90% of these things to take place based off of our church bulletin. The gist behind a Wednesday Night get-together is to roll up a fattie full of fellowship and fun with your church family and also catch up on some biblical knowledge–and, theoretically, I’d catch some of that action.
Folks kick off work at 5:30 and join hands in prayer before a scrumptious meal, lovingly prepared by sweet little church ladies who own that church kitchen like straight-up gangstas, and who I’m almost positive are lacing the desserts with crack cocaine. Because it is not long after the group dinner that my kids are losing their minds and whirling dervishly around the fellowship hall at the speed of sound. The fun continues with a number of bible studies offered to adults and teenagers, and a program for school-aged children that I have fondly nicknamed “where we give your kids sugar and coffee and show them how to Jackie Chan actual walls”. This happens for 18 hours (or maybe just one and a half) in a row before the children are then released into the public; mothers and fathers round up their families and everyone heads home.
It is worth noting that the kids are taught about Jesus, and missions, and they study bible verses and participate in bible drills and just generally become way more trained in navigating and understanding the bible than I ever knew could be possible in the 12-and-under crowd.
It is also worth noting that to pull off a child-wrangling event of this magnitude requires no less than 83% parental involvement; and so this does unfortunately limit a mother’s ability to partake in one of the bible studies designed for grown-ups. And sure, a mother could always say simply “no, I cannot help,” but then, three of her four kids are among those who require supervision and instruction. Guilt is a vicious beast that won’t be ignored, especially upon viewing the beaten, haggard appearance of the brave souls who did take one for the team and volunteer to lead a class.
Here’s where I split into three distinct personalities: Calm and Rational Toni, Crazy Christian Nazi Toni, and Rage Against the Machine Toni.
Calm Toni (this time one year ago): “We can try to do Wednesday nights this year. I mean, I’ll probably need to be with Arbor, but at least we get to have dinner with our beloved church family and the kids get a little learning in. Isn’t that right, kids? What did you guys discuss tonight in class?”
Merrick: “AAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH NATE SHOWED ME HOW TO HOCK A LOOGIE AND I DIDN’T GET ANY DINNER I ONLY HAD CHOCOLATE CAKE AND IT WAS REALLY LOUD IN THERE AND I SAID THE BIBLE VERSE SO I WON THESE COOL SUNGLASSES AND ALSO FIVE HUNDRED PIXIE STICKS.”
Mia: “We talked about Jesus and Seth let Lyndey wear his hat and it was hot in there and loud and I just want to go home and can we stop and get a drink cause I’m thirsty maybe Sonic because I didn’t eat my dinner because I was too busy talking to Charli and Merrick keeps poking me and I’m just starving and I have a headache and I haven’t done my homework even though I know I told you I did but I forgot about just this one thing or 4 things and I don’t want the rest of these sour straws cause I already ate five packs.”
Rage Against the Machine Toni: “Screw this! Did you guys retain any information? Anything at all? Because it’s 7:30 p.m. And apparently we still have to drive 25 minutes, get baths, do homework AND eat dinner AND your dad is out of town AND it’s past Arbor’s bedtime already, among a million other things?”
Crazy Christian Nazi Toni: “Clearly you’re not as good of a Christian as you should be otherwise you wouldn’t be losing your crap right now, and children need the Lord.”
Rage Against the Machine Toni: “They also for their mothers not to throw them through a wall!”
Calm and Rational Toni: “I realize Wednesday nights are a little hectic–”
Merrick: “SEE ME RUNNIN THRU THA CROWD, FULLA MELE!”
Mia: “Merrick has to go to the bathroom.”
Merrick: “I do not!”
Calm Toni: “Are you sure? I can stop at the store before we get on the highway…”
Merrick: “I’m good! Keep going!”
Mia: “I’m hungry!”
Merrick: “Actually mom I think I do have to go.”
Raging Toni: “Well that’s just too mother-freaking bad son! Cause I just passed the last stop along this road before we get home so now you’re just gonna have to hold it! And as far as dinner goes, y’all are eating cereal while you do your homework and guess what else? I’M OUTTA MILK! DRY CEREAL IT IS! Plus there is no showering tonight! I don’t care if you’re sweaty! I’m done!”
Nazi Toni: “Maybe if you’d go over some bible verses with them in the car on the way home, you’d all be more like Jesus.”
Calm Toni: “Maybe let’s just turn on some soft music and breathe a little. We will be home soon, surely there’s enough time for everyone to hop in the shower and at least rinse off.”
Raging Toni: *drives like Cruella DeVille due to partial nighttime driving blindness, heart rate 200% faster than what is medically recommended*
Arbor screams, Merrick squirms in the backseat because no bathroom stops, Mia pouts because no Sonic. Nazi Toni is unhappy because Raging Toni remains unheeding to the will of the Holy Spirit. Calm Toni slowly spirals into Panic-Attack-Toni.
Mia: “Mom? Wednesday nights are loud and they give me a headache.”
Merrick: (in tears) “Me too, Mom.”
Arbor: (in tears)
Our church’s weekday programs? Amazing, helpful, blessings designed to teach and to refresh and for most people, I’m guessing that’s exactly what occurs. But for sensitive me and my easily-over-stimulated children, at this point in our lives, Wednesday nights are a mega-stressful no-go.
I know that out of all the good things we are able to participate in, being a loving family is at the top of that list. Because if we have all the wisdom and understand all the mysteries but do not have love, then we are nothing…nothing except a Prozac-popping family going ape on each other at bedtime midweek.
So after a quiet evening spent eating a home-cooked meal, getting a hot shower, reading bedtime stories and gently tucking my babies into bed by 8:30, I realize that our Wednesday nights don’t look like everyone else’s. But that’s ok–even with Crazy Christian Nazi Toni.