Summer Spirit is in session. That’s pretty much just “VBS”, but at our Catholic Church. The program has been in place for 35 years and it’s always been called Summer Spirit.
There are about a gazillion things I love about it. It’s fun, affordable, full of enthusiastic teens, and just two minutes from my house. The activities themselves are wonderful and have stood the test of time.
Most importantly, my kids all love it. So that’s great.
So well-done and affordable is our program that people send their children in droves. At least half of our campers are not Catholic, but their parents are drawn to the rock bottom prices and good reputation. Summer Spirit is known for encouraging joy and gratitude without being overtly connected to Catholic doctrine.
There are also a ton of kids who attend regular Faith Formation (church school) classes, but whose families never really go to church, who come to Summer Spirit.
In theory, this is awesome. The idealist in me loves to think that it’s just spectacular to have SO many children take part in it. It doesn’t matter what their family background– we’re just so happy to have them! It shouldn’t matter if they regularly attend the church or are familiar with the lay-out or any of that… right?
And that’s true. It really is. I am THRILLED the kids are there.
I pull into the parking lot and immediately have to slam on the brakes. The woman in the car in front of me throws on her right blinker and I realize she must be planning to back into the one open parallel parking spot right next to the church.
Wait some more.
At this point, I know full-well that I am holding up traffic behind me and that the road is now blocked because only about two cars could even fit in the lot behind this woman whose plans were starting to elude me.
She didn’t make any move to back in, so I pulled forward, feeling just awful for the people stuck behind me.
Then she backed up.
Fortunately, she DID see me and stopped before crunching my fender, but she obviously couldn’t get into the spot anymore. I couldn’t back up. Traffic, as it was, was crunched in behind me and getting more impatient with every passing second.
She threw her hands in the air in obvious annoyance and gunned it forward in the lot, narrowly missing a teen counselor who was trying to cross.
I proceeded to drive into the parking lot, to the rear spots, not 30 feet from the front door, where I park every single Sunday. There were no fewer than 45 spots available there.
I took a deep breath and dropped my kids off.
Returning home, I stormed in the house (kid-free), red hair flying.
I told my husband the whole story, eyes flashing, hands gesturing, finally ending with a breathless,
“Seriously, what is WRONG with people???”
He looked at me, laughter in his eyes, and I narrowed mine back at him.
“What?” I demanded.
“Nothing. There’s just nothing to quench your usual faith in people like a trip to the church parking lot during VBS.”
I threw a towel at him.
But he’s not wrong.