I sat in church on a recent Sunday morning and thought, “I’m not really a religious person.” I stared out the window as rare winter sunlight poured in, and I watched the shadow of snow melting, then dripping from the church’s eves. It looked like rain in sunshine.
I wanted to be out there, anywhere. Somewhere else. That is often the case when church time rolls around on Sunday morning. But alas, I am the pastor’s wife.
Then I began thinking about how I offer so little to God; and yet God remains faithful to me.
As a child, I grew up in the church. Not the denomination of my adult choice, but I went: on Sunday morning, on Sunday evening, on Wednesday evening, for Vacation Bible School and week-long revivals (even on Halloween, the one time a year I didn’t have to spend my meager allowance for candy). When I wanted to stay home and watch the Wizard of Oz (always on a Sunday night), I pretended I was deathly ill by holding my forehead, and then the thermometer, near a light bulb. I’m so sure I fooled my mom.
Then off to college, where I skipped church most of that time. After college and a short stint working at a daily newspaper, God snickered up God’s sleeve and got me a job in the communication’s department of a denominational publisher (the denomination of my childhood). The director called me after seeing my byline in the newspaper. And OK, she knew my father who also worked there. During those years, I met my husband, then a college professor. I fell in love before he informed me he wanted to be an Episcopal priest. Score another one for God.
My husband wanted to be a priest in Chicago, not Nashville, so I sat at my home computer and typed “denominational” “editor” “Chicago” (because that was where my experience was) into a job search website and up popped my current job. I applied. I was hired. We moved to Chicago.
I often wonder why God keeps me just within reach of the church. Is it because I have little faith? Is it because God likes my irreverence? Did my mother make a bargain with God long ago to give her most errant child to the church? Does God not expect as much in return as God gives? Does God just like me, no strings attached? Maybe. Just maybe that’s it.
Terri Lackey is managing editor of Gather magazine.