Dear Arch Rival Family at Church,
How did you do it?
Will you tell me your secrets now that we’re grown up and we’re not attending the same church? How were you able to be exactly like my family, only better? Did you know I considered you our arch rival family? Did you know that when we sat around the table for dinner your family was held up as the pinnacle of Christian servitude and discipline and awesomeness of all varieties?
I bet you didn’t. You were probably too busy helping orphan baby barn owls to notice my jealous glares. You were probably too busy donating your spare kidneys to strangers to know that secretly, the seventh grade version of me kept looking for some sign that you were a robot. Nobody could be that perfect!
But you were. When I was lazy and tried to pass a rainy Saturday afternoon in front of the television, my mom would say, “You know the arch rival kids are doing yard work for a crippled woman that lives in their neighborhood right now. In the rain. With their bare hands.”
And then I’d get up, go outside and kick a rake in the face out of frustration because somewhere across town you were winning. If I volunteered for something at church you had already volunteered for ten somethings. If I memorized one Bible verse you memorized the book of Philippians.
Was it Diet Rockstar? The can says it contains milk thistle, which I think is what Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh ate all the time which is confusing because he was so mellow, but it does promise to “provide an incredible energy boost for those whoe lead active and exhausting lifestyles – from athletes to rockstars.” Is that it? Were you hopped up on energy drinks, barely controlling the leg jitters from all the guarana coursing through you at all times? You can tell me. Unless the answer is “the fruit of the spirit.” Please don’t say that. I’ll definitely sin in my heart and probably my punching hand if that’s your response to my question of “what were you on?”
We’ve moved on haven’t we? I go to a church that’s too big for me to really develop a good Arch Rival Family, that curious family who seems to be the holier, more put together, more perfect version of your own. They’re never late to Sunday School. Their kids never have those kind of bruises and scrapes that make it look like you’re allowing them to play with bear cubs and jig saw blades at home. They never accidentally run out of regular yogurt for a casserole recipe and instead use vanilla yogurt which makes your chicken dish taste like a dessert and a main course got into a cat fight in which both parties lost.
So what was your secret? Mine was that I was really insecure and judgmental at the time, so even though you weren’t purposefully doing anything to attack my family, I definitely considered you a nemesis. Or a competitor in some weird church game. The whole thing makes no sense. Sorry about that.
But how about you? How did you do all those things you managed to do? It was Diet Rockstar, wasn’t it?
You can tell me.