God, Monkeys, and Swinging from Treetops

Some people are pondering the possibility that the apocalypse is near, though probably not for the reasons you may think.

No, this has nothing to do with catastrophic weather disasters, nor does it have anything to do with the rumblings of end times from the mouths of Teavangelicals.

Rather, this Horseman is much more simple.

Friends, I went to church… and I liked it.

I’ll pause a moment while you catch your breath.

Ready?

Ok. I’ll continue now.

For months, I’ve been trying to find whatever that something is that’s been missing in my life. I’m happily married, I have beautiful well-adjusted children, I’ve completed my education, I’m financially stable, I’m in good health…

… So what was it? What was this little spot- nothing more than an itch, really- that needed scratching in the center of my soul?

I’ve long considered myself a spiritual person. In fact, I’ve long considered myself a Christian. I simply chose to avoid church. I definitely had my reasons, and as a Preacher’s Kid, felt I’d had my share of  that life.

Religion, for those who have never experienced such a thing, is not for the faint of heart. Especially when one’s parent happens to be the guy in the pulpit.

I came to the conclusion, somewhere around my 19th birthday that church was not for me. I stopped attending, and approximately 14 years later, can still count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone- at all- since then.

I decided, in all my teenaged wisdom, that the sanctuary was not what its named promised to be, that its pews were filled with hypocrites, liars and all around assholes. I was right, of course, and the irony that the hypocrisy, lying and tom-foolery was exactly why we all needed to be there was lost on me for many years.

Over time, as is inevitably the case, life happened, and I stopped thinking about church altogether. I became a Fox Hole Christian- only thinking about God when I really found myself in the line of fire, in the middle of a crisis, a catastrophe- praying hard that He will get me out of whatever mess I managed to plop myself into the middle of.

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to fine tune my existence. I’m not a single mom anymore, having remarried about a year ago, and it’s amazing how much pressure we can take off of ourselves when we are no longer on our own. For the first time in my entire adulthood, I feel stable and secure. Life isn’t about surviving anymore, but is now about thriving.

I can look to the future and make plans.

It was during this process that my husband, about a week ago said, “Let’s go to church this Sunday”.

I didn’t protest, not because I thought it was a great idea, but because he sprung it on me at 7 o’clock in the morning, before I’d consumed the required amount of coffee to make my brain function properly.

He could have suggested, “Let’s join a club and pretend to be monkeys who hang from the tops of trees eating bananas and screeching at passersby all day”, and I blinkingly would have nodded, mumbling something along the lines of, “that sounds like a great idea”.

Before I knew it, Sunday was here. I overslept and almost chose not to go, but something told me I had to.

I am a skeptic by nature, but walking in the door, seeing the smiles, the welcoming faces, I somehow knew- instantly- that I was in the right place.

The message was a beautiful one, from beginning to end.

It was a lesson of love, hope, forgiveness, empowerment and personal responsibility.

All the things I stand on…

… Everything that means anything to me.

I know where I’ll be this Sunday- and I’ll be there happily.

And no, I’m not talking about eating bananas from treetops, either.

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