Many churches have them now – soundproof rooms where parents retreat with their babies so as not to disturb the rest of the congregation.
In our church, the crying room is above the sanctuary and has large windows enabling us to hear everything and look out over the whole congregation.
Usually parishioners cannot hear the happenings in the cry room, but my darling girl has managed to turn that notion on its head. Once a friend came up to the cry room and told me that Rhema’s table-jumping and foot-stomping could actually be heard.
We’ve been regulars in the cry room since 2004. Like living in a time warp, we’ve seen acquaintances come in with their sweet infants and do their time, a year or so of Sundays. The babies age out, move on to the toddler room and Children’s Church. Some parents return for another stint with a second or third child.
We remain. Rhema and me. Or Brandon and Rhema (when it’s his turn). She’s a whirlwind with a curly ponytail. Standing on chairs, crawling under tables, chirping like a bird, coloring feverishly and breaking, peeling, eating crayons. I’m singing a little when the congregation sings, praying with one eye open, hearing snippets of the sermon over the noise.
We occasionally peer through the window from our “balconey seats” as the worship service flows, catching bits and pieces. I don’t know what she knows. But I wonder if this is how she feels, always on the other side of the glass looking in. Only a fraction of the experience, life’s experiences, never the whole.
It doesn’t feel right, my big 7.5 year old darting between nursing mamas and dozing 6-months old and wobbly 1-year olds.
And yet it’s where we are. In this room. On this spectrum.
She begins to cry, and I don’t know why. But hey, we’re in the right place.
I sit on the floor, pull her into my lap and whisper: It’s OK, I’m here. God whispers: It’s OK that you’re here. I’m here.
Said an elderly Paul the apostle, at the end of life, imprisoned in a Roman dungeon:
“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” ~Phil 4:11-13
And I know for me there’s still more learning, more growing up in, more fighting for this secret of contentment in the room for crying.
Click here to read of a wonderful moment for a mother and daughter in the crying room.