On Tithing to the Toilet

 

Well, folks. Let me give it to you straight. There are those Sunday mornings where the stars align, the “get-along” and “be happy & pleasant” fairies wave their magic wands over the children while they sleep, all goes according to plan, and everyone is dressed and cheerfully out the door on time for church. (Theoretically. I say that in faith that this occurs for someone, somewhere.)

And then there are those Sunday mornings when your kid drops their offering money down the toilet at the moment you need to leave. Mmmhmmm.

toilet

I’ll let you guess which kind of morning I had. God bless us, every one.

On this particular morning, I had ensured the small ones were dressed and fed, and then popped upstairs for my long and involved beauty routine quick chance to pee, apply deodorant, brush my teeth, and put on something other than my 11 year old hoodie and flannel pants. When I was fully clothed with clean teeth, I thought hey, all is mostly quiet downstairs. Maybe I can actually apply some—*gasp*—makeup! Three whole extra minutes to disguise my zits and make my eyelashes a half a millimeter longer! Oh, the luxury!

But a lot can happen with a three year old in three minutes, people. Don’t be fooled. Silence is not golden. Silence is the warning signal of impending disaster.

After I’d finished my make-up, and gotten just cocky enough to think I might have time to do something with my hair, I hear a blood-curdling scream from downstairs. You know, the kind where there’s an eternity of complete silence right after while the individual inhales for the next, even louder scream. Then it’s just non-stop wailing. From the sound of it, I was judging we had a level 3 injury on our hands. Maybe a little blood, but probably nothing hospital-worthy.

When I rushed downstairs to comfort the victim, I found no blood, and no visible injury of any kind. The response I got to my standard “Where is your owie?” question was completely unintelligible through the wailing, so I decided to simplify. “Do you have an owie?”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOO”

“Um, ok. What happened? Why are you sad?”

“MY MOOONEEEEEEY!!!!!! I DROPPED IIIIIIIIT!!!!!! IT’S IN THE TOILET!!!!!!!!!!”

(What is it with my kids and dropping things in the toilet?!)

So of course my very calm, older, and more mature child zoomed straight into the bathroom to check, and confirmed with gusto what Willa was trying to communicate. “OH NOOOOO!!!! SHE DROPPED HER OFFERING MONEY DOWN THE TOILET! WILLAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!”

Oh dear. By great concentration, I will myself not to burst into laughter at the ridiculousness of the moment, and try to bring the household back to a level of peace and sanity we would consider healthy. (In hindsight, it actually does concern me slightly that we had that level of outrage and despair over the loss of a few cents, but maybe to a person who only earns $1 a week, 13 cents is a considerable amount.) I tell Audrey to calm down, because this is no big deal, and to go to her room and take deep breaths. I find that separating the crazy actually reduces it quite a bit. Divide and conquer.

I held Willa and consoled her with all the most comforting things I could think of. When nothing worked, I desperately rummaged through my wallet, and miraculously found $1. “HERE! Look, this is way more than what you lost, sweetie, you can take this if you want!”

“I DON’T WAAAAAANT THAT KIND OF MONEY!!!!!!!”

Ah, yes. The difficult concept that paper money is actually worth more than coins. Tricky with toddlers. I rummaged a bit more and found 2 pennies. That did the trick.

With Willa placated by the pennies, I turned my attention to Audrey. “Honey, this is nothing to freak out about. It was a total accident, a complete mistake, and it doesn’t matter at all!”

“MOOOOM! But that money was IMPORTANT!”

“Honey, it’s not the money that’s important, it’s our hearts. God doesn’t care about the money. He cares that our hearts are grateful and generous. I promise you this is NO. BIG. DEAL.”

She looked at me with very confused and skeptical eyes.

I looked at the clock. We had to get out the door, so I added,

“Also, I gave her a $1 she can give in the offering.”

“Oh, great. PHEW!”

I guess we’ll have to deal with skewed theologies of God and finances at a later time.

Happy Sunday, friends!

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