Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My One True Thing

I was challenged by an article I recently read to find and write about one true thing about myself.
Here you have it...

I didn't grow up in church. The story of my childhood is too long to share in one little blog post, but I will tell with you that looking back on the little girl-who-was-me is painful. We were poor. I was born 'late in life' and felt like the person who arrived at the party when it was just winding down. The fun was over; the cake was all gone and the guests had gone home.  My dad, whom I loved with all of my heart was an alcoholic. He died of emphysema when I was only 14. I was a timid child with monsters under my bed--and even now, some of them still try to scare me.

But I digress. The story is about church...well actually, church ladies. But first I will tell you how I wound up in church.

You see, in the midst of all of the sadness, the fear, and the dysfunction...I had a wonderful, miraculous, mystic, life-altering experience.  It's difficult to describe, but I'll try. Picture a 19-year-old teenage mother, married to a teen-father. She was a high-school drop out who kept making bad decisions and trying to fix them by making even worse decisions. Well, one night, in a raging argument with her young husband, this girl-mother says (because she can't think of anything meaner to say)..."you are a horrible, terrible person! What do you think God thinks of you?" The boy-husband stops, thinks, and answers quietly, "I dunno. What does He think of you?"

At that precise moment, and on the wings of that question; a light came into the room. (Here's where words tend to elude me.) The light was alive. It was warm and permeated our shabby little apartment. And it was radiating--pulsating throughout my body. It felt like a warm ointment being applied from somewhere deep inside of me. It had intelligence. I sensed that it knew everything about me; the good and the bad...but there was only acceptance. I didn't know what to do or how to respond.  I went to bed that night and slept fitfully. I dreamed. There was a hallway with a coat-rack and a red carpet. That's all. The next morning, the light was gone and my world seemed as hopeless as ever.

The following Sunday my husband's friend Bill, invited us to his church. I thought maybe I'd find the answer to 'the Light' there, so agreed to go. We walked through the double doors into this little country church. The foyer was a hallway...with a coat-rack. The carpet was red.

As I entered the sanctuary and settled into a pew I felt it again...The Light. The service was strange to me. The people were singing loudly and raising their hands. Some were speaking in foreign languages. The preacher spoke about Elijah. I understood nothing of what he said and was sure that they were all quite mad and  I seriously considered running away. But I could not move. I sat frozen in place, utterly captivated by this invisible force...this Light. After the benediction, the preacher approached me. I was terrified, but he was a kindly looking older man. He asked if he could pray with me. I nodded, unable to speak. He softly placed his hand on my shoulder. The Light ran through my body like a wave of electricity. Then tears. Grief. Hurt. Fear. Shame. Hopelessness. It all came tumbling out. And after the final tear was shed...Peace. And I knew that this Light was not a thing, but a person with a name. Jesus.

So began my relationship with Jesus, and with the church.

As a new convert, I loved going to church. I just loved everything about it. Almost everything. It was just that I couldn't relate so well to the ladies. They were just.too.perfect. And I was just.too.flawed.

I remember sitting up in the front row and carefully studying the pianist/youth pastor's wife. Her face was like plastic. Smile painted firmly onto her face. Eyes expressionless. Playing every note perfectly. When it came time for testimonies she would carefully stand, straightening her perfectly-pressed A-line skirt, ever-smiling; and express her profound thanks to God for her perfect husband and 2 perfect children (one boy, one girl...of course), and for all of the perfect blessings in her perfect life.  Well, maybe she didn't say it exactly like that...but the message was clear to me.

As a child I used to visit Grandma Cline's house. It was boring because Grandma kept everything spotless and I was expected to sit quietly...don't mess anything up. So while Dad visited with Grandma, I would curl up on the sofa with a National Geographic. When I tired of reading I would sit and stare at the doll. Sometimes for hours. She was an exquisite geisha doll; given to grandma by her soldier-grandson after he returned from duty in Korea. I couldn't actually play with the doll because she was locked safely inside of a glass case which sat next to the sofa in the sitting room.  She wore an ornate black kimono embroidered in red and gold. Her almond eyes looked demurely down at me over a prettily painted fan. Her lips turned up just slightly at the corner...just the suggestion of a smile. But one could never tell. I longed to hold that doll. To run my hands over that silk kimono. To remove the fan from her hands so that I could look deeply into her eyes. But it was never to be. As Grandma always said, "That doll is just 'for looks."

I hope you won't think me mean when I say that sometimes I feel that we church ladies and geisha dolls are alike. Just for looks. Perfect but untouchable.

But the truth about me is this. I'm so not perfect. After that marvelous encounter with 'the Light' I've had many wonderful days, but believe me, I've had my low points. I got divorced. Nearly sacrificed my family for a career. Had children that went through really difficult times and I could should have done a better job of helping them. I'm often overly-sensitive and hold grudges more often than I'd like to admit. I could go on.

One might ask, "If you're not perfect, what is so different about your life since that mystic experience?"

 Many things. But the main thing is this...I am not in this world alone. That Light, Jesus, is with me every moment. And that makes all the difference.

So, the one true thing about me is that I am very imperfect, I don't live in a glass box...but I do have this amazing Light...





Bookie said...

Lovely post...thanks for sharing all this....have a good weekend....

Elephant's Child said...

How lovely. I am not a believer, but I love the support you (and others) have found.
And no perfection here. None. Aspirations, but no success. A work in progress.

joanne said...

all of us are imperfect but through Jesus we are seen as perfect to our Father in heaven. I love your story, gritty and hopeful, thank you for sharing.

Debbie said...

What a wonderful testimony. We have a lot in common in the way God has worked in our lives. I'm so glad that you have a salvation story and that you tell it. Many people say they are saved, but don't really have a point in time that they can look back on and see that God actually did something for them. Praise Him for you and your life for Christ!

Anneliese said...

Wow! so glad you have a story to tell . . . that Jesus came for all of us! Thank you. Thank you for sharing the view from someone coming new into the church. We, s=who have been in the church for a long time need to hear. No one wants to come across as perfect, becasue none of us are.. that is why we all need Jesus. I'm so thankful He sought me before I knew I needed Him... because I surely would have made a mess of my life. God bless.


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