When I was 8, I had my parents drive me to Sunday school. For awhile, we’d all gone to church together, but my parents dropped out because the minister was too smarmy or it cut into time for yard work or otherwise became irrelevant to their needs. For me, it struck a chord and I liked hearing fantastical stories about people with powerful names. My brother was older and thought I was nuts, but still I went on my own for awhile.
Sunday school was held next door from the main church in an old white farmhouse. We sat around a table in a dining room that had been loosely converted into a classroom, so little wonder that it felt more like sitting around the kitchen table with family. The teacher was not like anyone in my family, though. The first word that comes to mind is mousy. She had thin, frizzy dark hair cut above her shoulders and front teeth that stuck out. Her voice was high and soft, with a trace of southern accent. She was someone you would be hard pressed to imagine yelling.
I have a distinct memory of her in round, thick glasses and a high collared, light pink shirt with ruffles down the front telling us: Open up your heart and ask God to come in. I remember concentrating to quiet the noise in my 8 year-old brain to hear only those words. I remember feeling disappointed that I felt no different afterwards.
Years later, this strikes me as a pretty spiritual experience for a kid with agnostic (at best) parents, but at the time I felt the teacher was a bit of a holy roller, a crackpot. She may have even said Jesus instead of God. The more I think about it, the more I’m sure she did.
Now take the copy of Daily Reflections I just bought. Well, don’t take it. You may borrow it, but I only just got it on a whim while talking with a friend before home group. I glanced down at the literature table and something about its substantial, boxy size called out like a heart-shaped chocolate you’re sure has caramel inside. I thought “hey, I actually have extra cash with me” and then I found exact change in the coffer – no more, no less.
And take yesterday when I opened Daily Reflections for the first time and randomly landed at page 79 and G.O.D.: Good Orderly Direction. I’m certain I heard this before, but the day before yesterday I heard a speaker explain God’s will as “doing the next right thing.”
This strikes me more as serendipity than coincidence, but that’s where I am right now.
I’m a little disappointed my god is not a man wearing a robe (and beard – I know, so unoriginal). My god, as it turns out, is staying on top of tedious things like bills and work instead of the self-indulgent rabbit holes I’m always falling into. It’s putting my phone down and engaging with my kids and husband or it’s picking the phone up to give my poor, lonely grandmother a call. Eventually it will be helping others in need for no other reason than it’s the next right thing to do.
I love the feeling I get after I clean the house and bleach fumes still burn in my nose and the kitchen floor is so clean and slippery as to be a dangerous. It doesn’t last, mind you, so I have to clean house regularly. I am quietly having a eureka moment here. It’s pretty sweet.