Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.
Looks like this post will have to be another grandpa story. Parts of it you have already read. I apologize, but, (Thanks to all my Followers! I love you all!), some of my newest followers may not have read about my grandpa. My maternal grandpa was a big part of my life, he stood in as my father. My real father was never around much. My grandpa raised me and taught me. He was a ‘Southern Baptist Preacher’ and pastored several churches, but the main one that I call my ‘home church’ and where I am still a member is ‘Welcome Hill Baptist Church’. Both sides of my family, paternal and maternal, went to this church. There were a lot of us cousins, so we grew up with a lot of youth in the church.
As we all grew up, several left the church. Some married and changed to their spouse’s church, some married and moved away, and some just moved away. Some of us still lived in the area, but just stopped going to church because life was too busy; raising children, t-ball practices and games, softball practices, school events, etc… Several of the elder folk; uncles, aunts, great-uncles, great-aunts, and grandparents tried to keep the church going.
One of my cousins ran the softball fields. She was raising three daughters. Her youngest daughter and my youngest daughter were the same age; somewhere around 3-4 years old, at that time. We got to talking one night at the softball field and she told me that she had started going back to church and taking her girls. I told her that I had been thinking about it. She told me that the church had no youth at that time.
That decided it for me. My grandpa had always talked about including the youth in church business, and leading the younger ones because they were the future. I started going back to church with my two girls.
Another one of our cousins had married, had a son, then divorced. She had moved in with her mom and dad for a bit and was coming to church with her son. Two more of my cousins started coming back with their children; two girls and 1 boy between the two cousins. So now we had 9 children ranging in age from 4 to 15.
Now, we could start a youth choir, host Bible School, and other activities for children and youth. We were all in our 30’s and ready to help in anyway to get the church built back up. To our surprise we were met with cold looks carved in stone faces. One of my great-uncles, great-aunts, and cousin were the ringleaders.
They had brought in a pastor that they liked at a time when the church’s attending members were very few. Four of us were ready to bring the church of our youth back for our children, the church, and our love of God. We eventually wore the others down and they agreed to let us host a Bible School.
The first day was great, we had close to 50 children attend. Our Pastor called us all together before dismissal. He gave us a lecture on how to dress for Bible School. No shorts and no sandals. Girls were to wear a long dress with socks and shoes. Boys were to wear dress shirts, slacks, and shoes. No blue jeans allowed. I was surprised that he didn’t tell the boys that they all had to wear ties! I was so shocked, but slowly things begin to come a little clearer and make sense.
The second day of Bible School, we had 10 children attend, and 9 of them were ours. We tried talking to the pastor, but his mind was set. He started preaching to us on Sunday’s about how women should have long hair and wear long dresses; how children shouldn’t participate in sports or any other school activity. I had noticed that my cousin that was divorced was wearing long dresses and letting her hair grow long down her back. She was a pretty hefty woman and I thought the long dresses were just more comfortable for her to wear. When I later questioned her on this she said, “Pastor — told her since she was divorced, she had to wear the long dresses to atone for her sins.”
When I was growing up, it didn’t matter if the boys were blue jeans or not or whether sandals should be worn by either boys or girls. It wasn’t what you wore that mattered, it was the being there in joyful praise that mattered. My grandpa taught me that. He also believed once saved always saved. He taught me that God was a part of me, and I was a part of him. He told me that if I was going to do something and my heart started thumping and my palms got all sweaty, that was God telling me ‘no’. So I shouldn’t do it. If somebody else thought something was wrong, they shouldn’t do it. But, if I wanted the same thing and didn’t get the ‘God speaking to me feeling’ then it was okay for me.
For instance, I loved movies and spent a lot of Saturday’s at the local theater watching the Matinee’s. My dad, however, would not step foot in a theater because he thought it was wrong.
The current pastor was messing my head all up. Everything that I had always believed in was being turned into something evil. Not only was he messing with my head, he was messing with my oldest daughter’s mind too. She had always participated in sports and cheerleading. Now, she was scared to death thinking she was going to hell for doing these things.
She started going to her boyfriend’s church and I just quit going, again. Here comes my 180. It could fall under the ‘changed my view’ category, or it could fit the ‘reversed a decision’ category. I’m not sure, but I do know that, at that time, my head was very messed up and I had to take a step back and review. I started reading about and studying different religions. Nothing seem to fit. Then I hit on a Nature Loving group and became a wiccan. It felt right to me. There was love for nature and for others. Like always, I found out the hard way, the Wicca wasn’t it either. People were clashing over little silly things and converting into their own little communities. Where was the love? I don’t know, but it wasn’t here, so I moved on.
I came across a book by Jack Kerouac called, ‘Big Sky Mind’. I learned about Buddhism and meditation. I felt the love, the love that I believed in, the love I knew was there. No, I didn’t convert to Buddhism, but I took a little from everything that rang true to me; lessons my maternal grandpa taught me, Native American ways my paternal Grandfather and Grandmother taught me, I still believed in loving all of nature, I still believed in loving each other, and I still believed in that feeling of God telling me what was right or wrong for me.
Basically, I’m just a spiritual person that believes in Love for all.
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