When I was little, Sunday meant different things to me. For a time, Mom took us to church on Sundays, a Baptist church whose pastor was the father of childhood friends of mine. A quiet man, Reverend G never did more than nod to anyone during the week, but once he got in that pulpit on Sunday, he was transformed into the hellfire and damnation preacher the Baptists are famous for. He scared the shit outa me: how was it possible that the gentle man I knew as the silent father of my friends could morph into such a terrifying presence? Luckily for me, my father – who was going through his own search for God – decreed that we were too young and there was no need for us to attend church “every Sunday” but should be allowed to make up our own minds once we were older. Happily, that ended too-tight hair rollers on Saturday nights, Sundays in crisp white gloves, the fear of hell, and a whippin’ from Momma for failure to behave in church.
When I was in the Army, if you signed up to attend church you could get out of KP, so I became devoutly religious once again. And yet it wasn’t just a ruse – I believed in a higher power, and was fervently praying He’d talk to me, like He did Moses and Noah. And perhaps He did, only I failed to hear Him through youthful ignorance.
Once I entered the world of work, Sundays became a day to lie in….a day to sleep late, or make long slow love with my husband/significant other and eat pancakes in bed while watching The Waltons or whatever caught our fancy.
For years, I sought God in various churches. Then, when the love of my life (not a clichéd saying here) committed suicide, I gave up on God, which is to say that I didn’t enter a church for many, many years. Not that I didn’t think about Him or offer up the occasional prayer in hope that He would speak to me.
Five months ago, I resumed regular church attendance. It’s a good church – not only am I a member of the congregation, but shortly after I joined, I was hired as the church’s administrator. This time, I heard God speaking to me, as I was hired after being unemployed for four months.
So now my life is work, my partner and God – not necessarily in that order. And today at church we celebrated the harvest, and my pastor preached a sermon around Matthew 6:26 that was particularly relevant to me.
I am a worrier. My Mom is a worrier, so perhaps this is genetic. All my worries have always been about money. I don’t care about having enough so I can have the most toys when I die and win, but simply enough for every day needs. And, having been laid off twice in the last five years, I’d say this worry was valid.
Am I right to worry about having my lights cut off, or not being able to buy presents for those I love this Christmas, or is my worry a sign of doubt, a slap in the face to God? And can I be forgiven for this doubt?
And yet, I have what I need. At this writing, I have a roof over my head, unlike many others. My fridge and my freezer are full. I have so many clothes in my closet I have to stand in front of it every morning and wonder what to wear. I’m even blessed with things to entertain me, those extraneous things God knows I love like my fish tank and my large-screen telly with the sound bar and my stereo and my laptop. In a world where people aren’t free to practice their faith without fear of persecution, where those in power abuse the powers given them by ordinary people like you and I, where people of all faiths/races can be beheaded for trying to help those who need it the most, do I even have the right to worry about how I’m going to pay my Visa card or my heating bill?
I guess – for me, anyway – it’s like the song says….I’m only human. Maybe it’s like that for everyone. Intellectually, I know God has spoken and God has promised, but sometimes, – emotionally – when my phone rings or the postie drops stuff through my mail slot, fear and doubt kick me in the ass.
Lord, forgive my unbelief.