Second Hand in the Air but It's Only the Beginning

            My story of faith is one that has progressed interestingly throughout my short life. It started as most children do, with a baptism. I was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church by my Presbyterian mother and my Lutheran father. Shortly after my baptism, my parents stopped attending that church. It didn’t really matter though because I was so little- I truly don’t know anything about Catholic customs. If you don’t believe me ask my ex-boyfriend’s Catholic family.

            After a couple years, I started preschool at Dilworth town Christian Preschool. I also started attending Sunday school. I really liked preschool and Sunday school. We made a lot of crafts and played on the Noah’s Ark that was on the playground. For a four year old, it was a pretty cool set up. But around this time was when I started forming my own rebellious ideals that continued into my adult life.

            My parents were very traditional people. Every Sunday, they made their rough and tumble little girl put on a dress, brush her hair and adorn shoes other than sneakers while my classmates rolled up in whatever they wanted- including their pajamas. This unfairness did not sit well with me. Not to mention, I was super embarrassed that I showed up all dolled up while my peers slummed it. However, I was even more embarrassed to tell my parents how I felt. So, as most four year olds do, I had a hissy fit about Sunday School. I didn’t/couldn’t articulate what I was upset with at the time so they just figured I didn’t want to go. So, they stopped taking me.  I was glad I didn’t have to wear dresses anymore but I was pretty upset that I didn’t get to make crosses out of popsicles anymore.

            On holidays my family continued to go to church but after the Sunday school incident, we took a hiatus for a while. It wasn’t until I was eleven that we started going again. My dad was on this kick where he was determined to go to every church within fifteen miles of where we lived -- which was a lot. So, every Sunday he would go to a different church and he would take a different kid-rotating between my brothers and I. I was happy to spend time with him but I dreaded the dress wearing, long services and stale hymn books. After a while, he started gravitating towards this one church. It was a contemporary non-denominational church and service. Eventually, we only went to this church.

Even after he settled on the one church we kept this tradition up of rotating through the siblings and the strangest thing happened; I started to enjoy it. The services stopped being so long, my dad let me wear jeans and this church didn’t have smelly hymn books to open.

I kept going back with him- almost every Sunday. But then I stopped. I was 16 and had just procured a license, a job and a boyfriend. “I am too busy for church. I am too tired for church. I have work,” became common exuses.

These excuses kept me away for a while but then the boyfriend went away, the license lost its allure and the job became annoying. So, I made my way back to church.

It must be known that the church my dad and I attend is one of those churches your grandma complains about where people say “Amen” and clap when they feel moved, one where the band plays so loud it shakes the sanctuary and where people raise their hands in the air.

I went back to church and listened to the sermon and sang the songs but as people cried and raised their hands in joy I remained slightly stoic. I sang whole heartedly and smiled. I lifted my palms face up but never up in the air.

I kept going back but never lifted my hands fully in the air.

This Easter I went to church by myself early in the morning. Something was different in me this time. The sermon was good, enlightening but also typical for that of an Easter Sunday sermon but there was a joy, a relief and a hope in this sanctuary as I looked up at the abstract ropes imitating that of sunlight shining that I hadn’t ever felt so strongly. As mentioned before I had turned my palms face up and even raised my one hand but never both. I could never get both hands in the air. Something was different this day though, in this church I have frequently attended, listening to songs I have listened to before. As I shouted out “Christ my Redeemer,” I thought of my Aunt and my Grandma who had recently passed and whom accepted Christ into their life and because of which they now dwell peacefully, no longer held down by the pains of life and this thought of their peace and happiness moved me so that my second hand shot into the air and silent tears started to roll down my face. Everything I have and everything I will have is because of Him and even in times of trial there are so many things to be thankful for.

My second hand, the one I had been trying to get in the air for so long was finally up there. I had finally, after all these years and all these churches had finally let Christ into my life full heartedly. No one had forced a pink dress on me this time, nor had they made my attendance necessary, this is something I chose to do because I wanted to and Christ helped me get there.

Now my second hand is in the air and I am afraid but I am not. I am afraid of what lies in front of me but I am also not because I know that Christ will be there with me, walking me, guiding me and lifting my hands in the air.