When I was a little girl, I went to church every Sunday with my parents. Church, for me, is pretty important for obvious reasons, but what I really love, is that every time I smell the inside of the church I attend with my husband, as I walk through the door, I am flooded by memories.
But not of this church.
Or my parent’s church.
But my grandmother’s church.
A little country church that my grandmother has gone to her entire life. A church where, as a little girl, she would sneak in and swim in the baptismal pool behind the church on scorching hot Mississippi summer days.
A church that my grandfather helped renovate and rebuild many years later.
A place where I feel closer to God than any place on earth, and can still feel my grandfather’s calloused brick mason’s hands as he would lead me inside. I can still see the mud on my little white, lace trimmed gloves, and I can still feel the weight of my little patent leather pocketbook that I would fill up with dozens of pretty rocks that I would find out in the gravel parking lot before the service.
I can still hear my sweet grandmother singing “Just as I Am” so terribly off-key that, even as a child, I knew those notes were definitely not right.
I can still hear Brother Floyd’s booming voice as he taught about Heaven and Hell from the pulpit, making me jump when his voice would get louder and louder as he was making his point.
And I can feel the hardness of the wooden pew as I would adjust and readjust to keep my butt cheeks from going to sleep. I am convinced people made those pews so uncomfortable simply so that no one would fall asleep during the service.
But church wasn’t always entertaining for a child, so I would find ways to amuse myself. I’d draw on the bulletin that was handed to my mother as we walked in the sanctuary. I would play “I Spy” with myself and try to go through the entire alphabet trying to match items with letters.
Or, as I did one particular Sunday morning, got up from the front pew and proceeded to do somersaults down the center of the aisle. My mother was mortified, and my grandmother, who was also the organist, just laughed.
Luckily, this was also a church where 99% of the congregants are related to me somehow because the town is so small, so no one was really surprised when I did that.
As an adult, I no longer do somersaults down the aisle (although there ARE a few rocks in my purse), but I have come to realize that no matter where I go, or what church I attend, I know my love for the church started there.
And that is a very good memory, indeed.