A little something about me...

10:42 AM

Want to know a secret about me? Probably not... but what's the point of blogging if not to share without having been asked to, right? So back to the secret, well here it is: I used to be a "PK," which translates into "pastor's kid." Yes, for a large portion of my childhood life my father was a pastor. My childhood included "camp meetings," thick and heavy hymnals, potlucks featuring undercooked pasta doused in Prego, lots of old ladies that smelled like mothballs and Sabbath School complete with felt Mary and Joseph.* Lately, I've found myself thinking about all of this and thinking about the way it has shaped me. Not so much the felt Mary and Joseph or Prego though I do still have a soft spot for the smell of microwaved Prego (occasionally I'll get lucky and smell it wafting out of a dorm room window on some college campus) but more the having my daddy be a "man of the cloth" and us being along for the ride. Especially since lately I feel like a lone wolf when most of my friends and relatives have abandoned going to church or often religion altogether. It leaves me wondering what made the difference? Why do I still find it so meaningful?
I don't know that I have the answer... after all church attendance or belief is a very personal issue (and I suppose I feel like getting personal today so for that I hope you will forgive me). All I know is that during the most difficult times for us as a couple our faith has been the only thing that has sustained us. When my mind goes back to some of our darkest and most helpless moments the memory more often than not ends with us on our knees. I don't profess to know how or why prayer works, I don't have an answer to the problem of evil and I certainly don't know why bad things happen to good people but what I do know with certainty is that I will never stop searching for the answer. I have so many questions but I find looking for the answers to be exciting. Some of our most robust and challenging conversations as a family revolve around religion and theology.
But even beyond the deep questions I find that I have a love for the way I grew up - our morning devotions with dad, prayers at night with mum and the way we always spent Saturday as a family on hikes, enjoying picnics or taking in a museum or art gallery. Those are special memories for me, memories that I hope to one day give to Birdie as well. I find my faith related rituals are a reminder to be kinder, to forgive, to love more and to be grateful. Even looking back on our happiest moments, those big occasions or blessings, my mind also finds an image of us on our knees. That's something I stole from mum and dad. I remember thinking when we got married that I wanted to remember to always involve God in our gratitude not just our asking.
I look back on the years that my father was a pastor with fondness. I remember all the lovely people we met that opened their hearts to us. We had the honor of being with people in their most vulnerable states; at hospitals, funerals, births of babies, baptisms and weddings. One of the families at the church my dad pastored in Wisconsin lived on a farm and if not for them I would never have learned how to properly fish, held a newborn goat, ridden a tractor and learned that happiness is not tied to money but instead happiness is a family of six sharing a modest house that they filled with so much love you could practically smell it when you drove up the muddy road to their home. What stands out to me most is the full spectrum of human emotion that you are a witness to as a pastor - it's a gorgeous painting of human existence in all it's glory.
Don't get me wrong though, I've seen plenty of ugliness related to this as well. I've seen how inside church politics can hurt and scar people, I've seen people take advantage of their position in the church, I've seen hypocrisy and downright meanness. But I've also seen all these things at work and in relationships. I wish I could "give up work," don't we all? But just like with church I believe even work has a place in our lives (I learned that the hard way, after being unemployed for a year and walking our dog like it was my job all 365 days of that year, no one paid me for it though...). I suppose in the end my faith is so beautifully intertwined with every aspect of my life that I couldn't imagine my life without it.
I was actually inspired to write this after a hymn we used to sing at church often came on my Pandora station (it's a very strange station I created so it's best not to ask, even papa bear doesn't try and understand). It made me sentimental, made me yearn for that time... Made me grateful for those experiences. Ironically enough I hate hymns now and the church we attend doesn't even have hymnals but once again for everything there is a time... I must admit however I do not miss the time when I no longer wanted to wear things like this to church and the way almost every Saturday morning started with a fight between my mum and I. In my defense I was like fifteen and she still wanted me to wear things like that!!

*I am a Seventh-day Adventist and attend church on Saturday. I would like to note that this does not mean I condone or accept all of the beliefs of my denomination. We consider our church to be New Hope in Maryland.

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4 notes

  1. Oh, WOW ... you had me at the words "camp meeting"! It is so rare to meet another person who was raised Seventh-day Adventist. There is so much nostalgia and history intertwined with my religious upbringing that very few people in my day to day life even begin to understand. It's hard for me to even write about it because I feel like nobody will get it and I will be labeled as crazy!

    My boyfriend was raised in a similar church, but a "Sunday church". We both at this point consider ourselves more agnostic than anything but I still believe in God and still believe a lot of what I learned growing up. Like you, I don't condone or accept *all* of the denomination's belief, but I miss the sense of community of being part of a church and the peaceful, simple happiness of my church-entwined upbringing!

  2. very cool perspective on this. my college roommate was a pastor's daughter and it makes for a different upbringing - and i think what you described, a much greater exposure to your community for good and bad. thank you for opening up about this, it was a good read :)

  3. Thanks for sharing. I like 'getting to know' my favorite bloggers. Isn't it funny how every single circumstance in our lives shape us?

  4. Jacki - Thanks so much for your comment! It's always nice to meet fellow SDA's :). Nice to hear about your experience too! I definitely miss the community aspect that I also had growing up, there's something very comforting about it. xo

    Colleen - You are so very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed reading! xo

    Jo - Absolutely! Thank you for reading! xo


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