“It looks like the inside of a wedding cake.” said a friend, and for the first time I saw this house of worship that made the backdrop of nearly all my childhood memories in a different light. This church, with it’s baby blue walls that catapulted upwards until they were able to touch the elaborate stark white crown molding, was home, is home.
I’ve been lucky enough to call four churches home in my life, each shaping me in their own ways.
The one with the baby blue walls where my brother and I would explore while our parents worked.I knew everynook and cranny almost as well as I knew the people who made this congregation special. I knew where God was in this church, and I knew where he wasn’t, too; spending the better part of 24 years of my life in that church. I knew the people that loved me, and then as my beliefs began to change, I knew those who didn’t. This house of worship will forevermore be bittersweet for me, fortunately though, it is mostly sweet; here I learn the best of church and the worst of church.
The one with the long drive on curving Tennessee roads, characterized most by the people that loved people. The people that would come get us when we were stranded, just having wrecked a car on that long curvy drive. The people that knew we were naive college students who didn’t have families close, and choose to treat us as such even though their houses were full.
The one that was large enough to be a hospital for me, allowing me to disappear into the crowd, but still able to be there, still trying to reach out to God. Giving me time to heal the wounds given to me by bad theology and worse attitudes, while also giving me opportunities to work and serve. I rebuilt my faith here while sitting quietly in a dimly lit room with others who weren’t having to rebuild quite so intensely.
The one where I realized that I have been called, the one that doesn’t judge whether I can receive this call based solely on my gender, the one where I realized that I have felt this calling throughout all these houses of worship; that all these churches have shaped me and even (perhaps despite their own intentions) my calling. The one where I realized that my life and my calling are simple a thread being pulled together by God to weave something wonderful.