Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.
This post started out differently. I was planning to write a rather provocative post entitled “10 Reasons I’m Glad I Didn’t Grow Up in Church.” But as I stared at the page in front of me, it just stared back at me–blank.
This was a bit concerning, seeing as how I’ve said rather brazenly many times that, even though I’m heavily involved in it now, I’m happy that I wasn’t raised in church.
But in trying to put together a list of 10 reasons to support that statement, I found myself more able to list out things that made it hard not being raised in church.
It was hard listening to my friends talk about the cool things they learned and did at church, as I could neither understand, nor relate to, most of what they were saying.
It was hard listening to them sing their church songs on the bus, as I couldn’t sing along because I didn’t know the words.
It was hard hearing about “First Priority” meetings at the flag pole in the mornings and “Young Life” meetings at people’s houses at night, as I never knew how to get “in.”
It was hard asking my mom if I could go to the church that all my friends went to, only to have her say “no,” as their church wasn’t a part of “our” denomination…whatever that was.
It was hard to get in a prayer circle before marching my first halftime show as a majorette, as I was the only one who didn’t know “The Lord’s Prayer.”
Even though the church void was quite palpable at times, that was more the exception than the rule for me. I had a wonderful childhood and great upbringing. My parents stayed married, and I didn’t want for much. I danced, I twirled, I swam and I did arts and crafts. My parents instilled strong morals in me and worked diligently to help me build my character. And they showered me with love.
I truly loved my life. I loved who I was, and I love the person I turned out to be. That’s part of what kept me from going back to church for so long–I was afraid that it would change the me I loved so much. But being able to find my way back to church on my own time and in my own way as an adult turned out to be a good thing. It did–and continues to–change me, but in more awe-inspiring ways than I ever thought possible. And, I actually believe my upbringing serves to strengthen my faith today.
Looking back, I see that my mom was right to not let me go to church with my friends, as it wouldn’t have been the best fit. I am now–as I apparently have always been–an Episcopalian, and I love the way we see, seek and experience God.
So here’s where I’ve landed: it’s not that I’m happy that I didn’t grow up in church (nor am I unhappy about it). I’m simply grateful that I was able to get to where I am now on my spiritual journey despite not being brought up in church.
We each have our own paths to travel, and I can only be thankful for the one that I have followed.