I was raised in the Presbyterian church in 1960. I was part of the Young People’s Fellowship group, my Dad was an Elder. We went to Tijuana. We built an orphanage. I accepted Christ at the ripe old age of 13, right around the time I started partying. Go figure.
As a little girl in the 60’s, I went to the Catholic church with my cousins. They got to wear lace doilies on their heads. That’s all I remember. That, and standing in front of a mirror yelling bloody mary bloody mary bloody mary. I have no idea what that meant…but we were supposed to see a ghost.
In High School, I was invited to go to a Mormon baptism. I watched it, fascinated. I thought it was kinda cool, and I liked this boy, Kurt…who was a Mormon. You’ll see the pattern in a minute here.
I liked a boy who was a Jew. I did. So, of course, for a brief time, I pondered this…but it didn’t stick. Neither did he.
I went to a Baptist church with some other friends, and I loved the drama, the yelling, the crying, the I’m saved and please-fix-me-mentality. And, there were some boys…some cute boys who had me go to their Bible study on the week nights, and I had a Bible that my parents gave me, and I wrote and highlighted. And, I was on fire. Plus, I was drinking, so it was imperative that I got saved fairly regularly (I didn’t know).
In College, again I found a Baptist church. I was a Sunday School teacher, and I would come in hungover. I was 19 or 20. Drinking and The Lord weren’t really working for me, which is another story.
And, I went to AA.
I found the generic Higher Power there. I really needed this, because I had been dipped and dunked and sprinkled and saved, and I needed to have a name that didn’t call up the fact that I had already failed at most of the religions I had tried.
I got married the first time at 23 years old. To a non-practicing Catholic, which apparently is Catholic enough. His mother was very salty, but man, when it came to the Stations of the Cross, the kneeling, the dipping, the crossing yourself…she had it. And she wanted us to have it. I couldn’t do it. So, my first husband and I…we became Episcopalians. Sort of the good meeting in the middle. Plus, the priest was a member of AA. It was all good.
I divorced. I remarried a man who was in the Christian Reformed Church, which I promptly joined. It was very similar to the Presbyterian church I grew up in. We were married there, and had children baptized there. They did the Heidelberg Cathecism in Dutch, but hey, it’s a Dutch town.
When I divorced again, I drifted. From church to church. Looking for that connection. Up until last year, I attended a very exciting, huge church in a neighboring town…right up until the day that I realized, it was too close to my home town. Too close.
I searched. I knew I couldn’t go it alone, but didn’t want to find some place to get lost in…I wanted a connection. A place where I could matter, be a part of a Christian community…where someone would know me. Not as someone’s wife or girlfriend. But as me.
In the end, I looked for a Presbyterian Church. I found my home. Push re-set, and there I am again, in the pews, listening to the music of my youth with ears of an adult. It’s not the minister. It’s not the people. It’s the size, the warmth…the At Home feeling I have every time I walk in there.
I claimed it almost the moment I came in. I am joining the Presbyterian church. I’m sure it doesn’t matter to Christ where or even if I go. What matters, is that I believe…and I do. I believe.