Around this house, we don’t say “bless you!” when we sneeze. We rarely say “uh-oh” if something spills or slips. If a certain little boy sees you sneeze, drop something or even trip and fall, he has taken to saying “Re-take!”
This started because of a video message we sent to a favorite babysitter recently. We were filming him singing happy birthday and he was trying so hard to get it right. Our little production was humming along perfectly until he had a major sneeze in the middle of it. To keeping him from weeping, I said, “Re-take!” with a camera still rolling. And the tradition was born.
As he watches this video of his very own self over and over (what, you DON’T watch videos of yourself over and over?) the story has cemented. You mess up, the only proper response is: Re-take! Your perfect, practiced performance gets interrupted by something you didn’t expect?
This is what I think Church is about. Looking out for one another and remembering to say, “re-take.” Even if the words sound something like “bless you,” the hope behind them is that we are offered and can offer forgiveness, resurrection and peace. We are reminded that second chances and re-starts are available to us. And the reminder comes from someone near to us, unfazed by our blunders, maybe laughing but still shouting, “Re-take!”
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Deep waters, flames, and fears have come before. They will probably come again. But the narrative I want my child to have, and the narrative I hope to voice continually for myself and for my family is this: Fear doesn’t win. We are strong. And just in case we’re not brave enough, we will be brave for each other.