I know you all think this is going to be yet another post about how I once again forced myself to go to church, sat through an hour of nauseating music and hand-shaking, and half-listened to a pompous fat white man with bad hair preach at me about sins he’d never even think of committing…
But you would be wrong.
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what was different about today. Scratch that–yes, I do.
I said a prayer–no, really! I said one! Weeks ago. And here’s how it went: "Dear God. Please. For the love of Pete. Um, please, calm me down in church. Make it to where I’m not so negative and suspicious. Make it to where I’m happy and open. And to where I don’t have a stomach ache for the rest of the day. Let me just understand one thing. Just one–one sentence out of the preacher’s mouth, one bible verse, anything. Just let me get it. Let me have just one little "aha!" moment. Please. Thank you, dear baby God. Amen."
And that’s how it’s done.
Today, God punched me in the gut. And then, while I was down, he kicked me in the head. So picture me–sarcastic, skeptical me–sitting in a church pew, listening intently to the preacher’s (who, in reality, was not pompous nor fat nor did he have bad hair) every word. I was even following along in my bible, for crying out loud. And before I knew I it, I was praying again:
"So. Dear God. You know me. You know how I’ve had a hard time with this–growing up Catholic, joining a small-town Baptist church, having a bad experience, backsliding like nobody’s business, and running back to the Catholic church again. I’m comfortable there. I like the kneeling and the standing and the kneeling again, the quiet prayer and the limited singing. The little old Irish priest makes sense to me. And Southern Baptist? Really? Aren’t those the same people who boycotted Disney? And you know how I like beer. And how I cuss. Like a sailor. On steroids. In the mafia. I cuss like I’m getting paid for it. How am I supposed to fit in here? I’m not even sure I want to be here! I mean, I do, but I’ve forgotten. I forgot everything. I just want to get it again, crap darnit all to heck! Do you even see how ridiculous that sounds?! I’ve been trying to do this on my own for so long…how is this even going to work?"
And, I swear to…well, I promise you, after that little prayer, that every single word out of the preacher’s mouth came from God specifically to me. It was like someone grabbing you by the shoulders, looking you dead in the eyes, and calling you out for every single thing you’ve ever thought or said or done. And every question I’ve been asking was answered, every excuse I’ve come up with was null and void, and, most importantly, every doubt I’ve had over the past year and a half was put to rest.
My kids are lovin’ that place–even Cheyenne! My husband feels comfortable and inspired. Nobody we’ve met seems manipulative or calculating or pushy or eerily happy or freaky religious or remotely judgemental. They’re refreshingly…normal. And calm. And I’m pretty sure I have it in me to be the same way.