I love Facebook. I really do. It's such great fun to find old friends, and see what they have been up to the last, oh, 20 years or so. Night before last I found a friend who I used to go to church with.
A little back story:
Growing up in New York, it was considered different not to be Catholic. I was, and still am, Baptist. There were not very many Baptist churches on Long Island, but my grandparents went to one, and every Sunday they would pick up me, my brother and my sister, and off we would go. I remember doing this as far back as i can remember. My parents would show up for services sometimes, but never Sunday school.
I loved this church. Being just 14 months younger than my sister, i kind of gravitated towards her friends, and never really had any of my own. Except in church. In fact, my best friend growing up was a boy whose parents were best friends with my grandparents. (they adopted him later in life, so they were my grandparents age by the time we were in high school) I was allowed to sleep over his house, and it was never questioned. Of course, nothing ever happen, though everyone would have sworn we would have gotten married someday.
Anyway, the church we went to was small, and the youth group was even smaller. I think there were maybe ten of us, and we were all really close. I used to go every Sunday, day and night, and Wednesday nights just to hang out with my friends. I remember sitting in the back pew, passing notes while the pastor preached his sermon. We got busted a few times, if I remember correctly, by leaving our notes in the hymnals.
We went on youth retreats. We took day trips into the city with the church bus (which was nothing more than an old school bus that barely ran). We did Christmas programs. And Pioneer Girls. And potlucks.
I really do look back on those years as some of the best from my childhood. Then one day, my dad decided that he wanted us to change churches, and I was so angry with him. By this time my best friend was driving, and I thought I was old enough to decide which church I wanted to attend. I could just go with him was my logic, but my dad didn't let me. If I remember correctly, my sister was driving by this time, and she would take all of us to Sunday school, and then church. I don't ever remember my parents going...but that could just be my failing memory. I didn't like this new church. It was big, and the friends I loved were not there. I grew up in that other church, and that is where I wanted to be.
It wasn't too long after this that we stopped going to church altogether. I truly believe that my life would be so different right now if we had never left that little church. I was on the right path back then. Not that I am on the wrong path now, because I wouldn't trade one second of the past 20 years for anything. I just think that I would have made different choices along the way.
Like staying in church.
So, I found one of my closest girlfriends from back then on Facebook. She is married to one of the guys who was in our tight little group of friends at church, and they have four daughters. She is still very involved with her church, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little jealous of her.
And I can't for the life of me figure out exactly why. I mean, I think it is because I wish I was part of a church again. I want my kids to go to Sunday school, but with Junior and I, not my parents. I just can not get Junior to go. You see, we have a difference of opinion when it comes to choosing a church. I want to go to a Baptist church, and he doesn't. He wants to go to a Church Of God. I think that because I was raised in church, and I have pretty strong beliefs, that he should do what I want. Selfish? Maybe. But he went to church only on holidays, and it was never a good experience for him. I think if he will just try a Baptist church, he will like it. I know the kids would love it.
My mom has been talking about finding a new church, and I seriously think that we should all go together. I mean, church is all about family, so why not go with family. Right?
I need to stop making excuses. I need to go out and get some church clothes (now that I have lost some weight I can get some stuff in smaller sizes :) ) for myself and the kids. I need to make an effort to get my family into a church.
I think maybe that is what I have been missing, and maybe seeing what my old friend has makes me want it all the more. Does that even make sense?