Well, it’s Wednesday so it’s time to add to our collaborative community story.
We’re following a flashback of our main character, Samantha. The story thus far is on my blog under “Story.”
Here’s where we left off.
Chad brought a Christmas tree and had it decorated when we arrived. We spent our days skiing and sledding and building snowmen. We drank gallons of hot chocolate. We not only celebrated Christmas but JR’s and Kate-D’s birthdays. At night after the kids were settled in, we snuggled in front of the fireplace … and then some. It was like a second honeymoon…
Of course, all good things come to an end and the kids and I returned home. Chad finally made it back — on Valentine’s Day with a dozen red roses. He never ceased to amaze me.
Later in the summer, Chad and I were in the PX doing some shopping. Out of the blue, he says, “Do you think we should start going to church?”
Stunned, I stopped in my tracks. “What?”
“Do you think we should start going to church?” he repeated.
“Is something wrong? Are you okay?” I answered, instinctively, thinking he may be melancholic since we just buried his father a couple of months ago.
“I’m fine,” he insisted. “Forget it. I just thought the kids should start learning about God.”
Now, Chad and I were brought up in the church and we were believers. But we never really practiced our faith after we got married, except for maybe a Christmas or Easter service and weddings and funerals.
“I’m not against it,” I said as I started wheeling my wobbly-wheeled cart back down the aisle. “You just caught me off guard. Why don’t we get a coffee and talk about it?”
Well, that’s exactly what we did. Chad explained faith and church attendance had become a fairly regular topic in the office. He thought it might be time to do something. After all, he reasoned, JR was almost 10 and Kate-D was seven. “We know what we believe, but what about them?”
“Sure, hon. We can go to church. That was never an issue. I just wanted to make sure you’re okay, that’s all,” I said.
Since we both grew up in the Catholic church, I figured we would be heading to St. Paul’s down the street. But Chad suggested Grace Community Church in Huber Heights about 12 miles away. He said a couple of the members of his team went there and spoke about it favorably.
I was skeptical, but we packed up the kids and went to Sunday’s 10:50 contemporary service. The kids went off to children’s church and Chad and I encountered a totally different worship experience. Everyone was friendly and helpful. It was a casual atmosphere with a message that focused on our relationship with Jesus, not a bunch of rules and regulations. It had uplifting music, not stale hymns, with horns and drums replacing the organ. I can’t speak for Chad, but I left with a warm feeling.
Chad suggested we stop at IHOP after the service and we went around the table sharing our views about the church. The kids were just as enthusiastic as I was and over our pancakes we decided to make this a Sunday tradition.
Over the next few months, we got more involved at Grace … bible studies .. family-focused activities … the kids got involved in AWANA. Chad and I found new friends and a home outside our home.
Of course, not everyone approved of our decision. Chad’s Mom and my Dad tolerated the decision, but Mom was … well, Mom. How could I do such a thing? How could I turn away from God? What was she supposed to tell Fr. Pat? Or her friends?
And I thought back to my encounter with the glimpse of white as the sun tried to peek out from behind the clouds on my way out here. It didn’t succeed, but first a ray rained into the picture, followed by a halo of rays. As I caught the rays out of the corner of my eye, my mind drifted back to the time I was driving Kate-D to swimming practice with JR in tow. There was a similar canvas in the sky that day. They thought the light was heaven shining through. Interesting they made that connection. And it led to a brief discussion about Jesus and heaven.
To think, we might not have had that conversation if Chad hadn’t suggested a trip to Grace Community Church …
There you go, readers. What’s next?
All you have to do is put down your thoughts and get them to me. You can post your ideas as comments on the blog – but remember everyone will see them, so the “surprise” factor might get lost – or you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each Wednesday I will continue the story on the blog, along with that week’s attribution and periodically update Reveille/Between the Lakes readers. The complete story thus far is available on my blog under “Story.”
I hope we can have some fun with this.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: You have to know a lot before you know how little you know.