We watched the sun rise as we drove up and over the hill towards the church. I still hadn't decided if we were going to ignore the request and go into the sanctuary. I expected to see tons of cars at the overflow parking lot, but we were one of the first ones to arrive. On the shuttle bus that was to take us up to the church, I asked the other adults what they were going to do. They all said they'd be watching the live stream from the loft.
Damn it. No enablers on the bus.
We got up to the church and saw that there was no line. There were only volunteers running around working. I found my friend that's in charge of the children's programs and asked how we could help before heading in to the service. While we filled snack cups with goldfish and put paint on paper plates, the crowd began to arrive. We watched them as they headed in; a trickle at first, and then a flood. We finished up helping to set up the classroom and went out to figure out where we'd be sitting. My daughter was pleading to go into the sanctuary. I hemmed and hawed and then finally said, "Okay, whatever... let's just go in." We walked up to the doors just as the Executive Pastor shut them and said,
"The sanctuary is full."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME???
So we walked up to the loft with the overflow crowed. I thought, well, maybe this is how it should go. We should let others go before us. We should be givers. We should, we should, we should... and then I just started regretting not going in. We sat at the front of the room where the live broadcast was. As expected, it wasn't the same.
I started overnoodling our situation. We had brunch reservations at 12:30, so if we were going to go to a later service to see Bethany live, we had to ignore not only one but TWO requests made of regulars. If we were going to go into the sanctuary, we'd have to go to one of the two middle services. After too much hand-wringing, I leaned over to my daughter and told my plan. She would leave half way through the live stream to get in line. I could leave during the final song, grab my son, and meet her in line. When it came time for her to leave, her anxiety took over for a second and she froze. CRAP! When this kid freezes, it's all over! I said,
She unfroze and made her way out to get in line. When it came my turn to leave, I had two thoughts: A) I hope she's not at the end of the two hour long line, and B) I hope our pastor doesn't see us.
When I walked out, I saw that she had somehow managed to get to the front door. There wasn't a line, but more of a mostly patient crowd gathered at the doors. Somehow, I managed to find my son without any trouble. He had just walked out of his class as I was walking down from the loft. We both met up with my daughter and found other regular attendees that were ignoring the polite requests of the staff, too.
The doors opened and after allowing the first service crowd to get out, my daughter and a couple of her girlfriends wiggled in and bolted straight to the front row. My son and I found a couple of seats right behind her. We sat just a few feet away from the stage where Bethany was going to be.
The sanctuary was buzzing with excitement.