Tonight, I asked Nicholas what he did with his communion bread. And he said: "Why? What have you heard? You look so pretty!"
After I accepted my compliment, I was able to learn that my son threw out the body of Christ into a trash can in the newly renovated parlor of our church. The bread had been dipped in the symbol of the blood of Christ, which this Sunday was white grape juice.
Nicholas said he tasted it and it did not taste like the Communion he was expecting.
And friends, I could not disagree with him! The white grape juice was too sweet and it was not even the appropriate BLOOD like color.
I thought about writing an email to my Pastor and include links to purchase red grape juice.* I've been upset about the white grape juice all day. I mentioned to my husband and he just shrugged, making me realize that I am turning into a crazy old bat.
But, in my defense, this was not what I was expecting. I was not expecting my bread to look like it had been dipped in water; I wanted the drama of the red grape juice, like I've been accustomed, too.
I wanted what I expected.
There are three very important lessons in all this:
1. My son is always up to something.
2. My husband does not always entertain my rants.
and the big one:
3. You don't always get the Communion you were expecting.
This story reminds me of the time I was eating some Filipino food and I thought I was about to eat a carrot and it turned out to be a hot dog.
It was very unexpected and tell people about that hot dog at least once a week.
There are so many things that I wasn't expecting in my life. I wasn't expecting to have three children. I certainly wasn't expecting to know anything about childhood cancer. I wasn't expecting to live in New Jersey. I wasn't expecting to have so much gray hair already.
You don't often get much of what you were expecting in this life.
You don't get always get the answers to your prayers that you were expecting. You don't get the future you were expecting. You don't get the job you were expecting. You don't get the day you were expecting. Every moment, truly, is just one big, "THAT WASN'T WHAT I WAS EXPECTING" moment.
I think when we encounter something we did not expect we have a couple options; one which is palming that moment and making it disappear (Nick's Communion). The other is ranting about it (the hot dog!). Another option is maybe just eating the freaking white grape juice soaked bread, drinking some water to take away the taste and moving on with your day (my gray hair).
There is one other option: finding joy in the thing that you were not expecting. This is a hard one--but then again--I will find joy in the story of my son tossing his Communion in the trash can for a long time to come. I will also joy in wondering if I should find joy in the trashing of part of a sacrament. I find so much joy in my life--even the really bad stuff. This was not what I was expecting, friends, but it's what I've got.
*We are Presbyterians so we don't have wine, we have unfermented grape juice. We also only have Communion once a month. And we don't believe the elements are actually body and blood, just symbols to help us remember)