Fiction Friday: Quiet, Please!

Melissa’s head was pounding as she made the circuit around the church building gathering children. In addition to her own 2, she was playing taxi driver for 5 others, giving her a total of 7 between the ages of 5 and 12. The hallways were noisy with the sound of the ‘musical instruments’ the kids had made in crafts that morning. There were oatmeal canister drums, soda bottle maracas, paper plate tambourines, and rubber band harps all being played exuberantly, emphatically reminding her why she worked in the kitchen during Vacation Bible School and not with the kids themselves. Children were not her cup of tea. In fact, she didn’t even really like children.

Finally having all seven children they headed for the van, at least until they left the church building, at which point the kids scattered in seven different directions.

“Stop!” Melissa shouted. “Walk this way.” She made a wide sweeping arc that pointed toward her van and watched in amazement as the kids laughed and fell in line behind her with their arms out, pointing. Shrugging her shoulders and shaking her head, she started off for the van. Behind her the kids shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads, but followed.

Melissa suspiciously looked over her shoulder and almost tripped when she saw the kids look over their shoulders and giggle at each other. Stopping, she turned, propped a fist on her hip and asked, “What on earth are you doing?”

More giggles as the kids propped their hands on hips and innocently batted their eyes at her. Finally Meggie, the five-year-old couldn’t contain herself, “Mommy, you said to walk this way, so we were walking just like you said!” The older kids dissolved in laughter.

“Oh, I see!” Melissa said. “So, if I walk like this,” she turned around and walked like Frankenstein, “you’ll walk that way, too?” Looking over here shoulder she saw they were following her, so she flapped her arms like she was flying and, sure enough, they flapped too, amid much giggling and jiggling from their instruments. Well, Melissa thought, I DID say it!

At the van she counted the kids and checked their faces, making sure she had the correct ones; it would be awful to get home and find she had the wrong ones. By the time they pulled out of the parking lot there was a cacophony of musical instruments as they all tried to out-do the other. This is why I only have two, Lord, Melissa prayed. Kids really do drive me crazy. Even working in the kitchen is too much, so please show me where I can serve You, without having to deal with children.

Britney twisted around in the front passenger seat and called out, “Ok, guys, I’m Miss Sherry. Let’s sing ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It!’” Melissa hadn’t thought the noise could be any louder than it had been, but she was wrong. The volume increased when they began singing.

“Sing it out, Gang!” Melissa smiled at Britney’s imitation of Miss Sherry, the song leader. “I can’t hear you!” Britney called out just as Miss Sherry did during the morning singing. The kids all belted out the song while getting more noise from their instruments than Melissa had thought possible, her head beating in time with the canister drums.

Maybe they’ll quit after this song, she thought desperately, wishing she’d taken the time to take some aspirin before getting the kids.

Rather than quitting Britney called out, “Again!” at the end of the song and they kept rolling.

In desperation Melissa held up her hand, trying to signal for quiet. “That’s not music! That’s noise!”

“That’s part of our verse today, Miss Melissa.” Jason, the seven-year-old called out. “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” The kids all happily went into a jam session leaving Melissa to her thoughts.

Ok, Lord. It may be a joyful noise, but it’s driving me crazy! Melissa gripped the steering wheel and prayed for patience. Lord, I need help here. You know I’m not one who loves children…

“Quiet! I can’t handle any more!” Melissa commanded. All the children fell silent and looked at her in amazement, all but the five-year-old who was lost in her own little world.

“Jesus wuvs da wittle chill-dwen, all da chill-dwen of da wohrld.”

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.”
~Psalm 100:1 (KJV)

This is one of my early stories that I wrote for Faithwriters Weekly Writing Challenge--one that I really enjoyed. Since so many of us are involved with Vacation Bible School during this time of year, I thought it'd be a good time for this particular story.

Thank you for joining us for Fiction Friday, whether you're posting fiction or reading--or both. If you're posting, put a link to us here at Patterings, and add your name and url address to the Mr. Liknky gadget. If you're reading, enjoy the stories!

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  1. Oh Peej, I have to laugh at this one - Been there so many times. Each week I come home from teaching Children's Church wondering why on earth I ever wanted to do children's ministry.

    But it's your last line that cinches it - Jesus loves the little children - and not enough adults do.

    Gotta love 'em!

  2. I DO remember this one - but didn't until I got further down. This is SO true - perfect last line. Great stuff as usual, my friend!

  3. Yikes, I'm glad I've never felt like that (insert groan and eye roll). Sadly, there were many opportunities for Melissa to join in - you know, can't beat 'em, join 'em. How often do we do this in real life, and miss out on the little ways to have fun that are all around us. I liked this one very much Miss Patty!

  4. Sounded like our van everyday with all our kids. I just LOVE the last line...very convicting and cute!
    I can tell you had fun writing it.

  5. Anonymous10:15 AM

    Excellent story Peej. You've definitely captured all the excitment of Bible school. Then, isn't it just like God to remind of us what's really important. :)

  6. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Great story. Definitely described the children well after a morning or afternoon of VBS.

  7. Ii'll have to come back to read your stories. I have a one o'clock appointment and I am in desperate need of a shower.

  8. Anonymous12:11 PM

    This was such a wonderful read, and something every mother I know can identify with... except, of course, those moms that are perfect! =) Hugs, Cheri

  9. I absolutely adore that last line...Jesus wuvs...sooooo cute! Great stuff, Peej! ^_^

  10. I love children's stories, and this one went straight to my sweet spot. Precious!

  11. Patty,

    My Fiction Writer's Critique group would ask why the woman who has a low tolerance for children would possibly agree to pick up 5 additional ones from VBS... I on the other hand completely understand since Kids are not my particular area of gifted ministry yet I served in Extended-Session Child Care when all my kids were teens, worked in a daycare with infants, two-year olds and four-year olds as well as with school-aged children. My last year at the after school progam I taught ART! Go figure so, I can really understand.

    Your story is full of energy and the scene with the kids "following the leader" was very sensory... visual, audible... I could really experience this scene.

    Thanks so much for this meme and for opening it up to fledglings like myself.


  12. Whew! My head was pounding right along with Melissa's! Very funny, Peej, and what a whopper of an impact at the end! I love children's ministries-even when they make my head pound-the joy on their faces is priceless. ( :


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