I was born and raised a true Southern Baptist complete with dinner on the grounds, summer revivals, and Wednesday night prayer meetings. My week was planned before it even started - days were for school, but Sunday and Wednesday nights, church. But for me, the best part of all, was seeing my friends and getting that extra 'bud' time that school days just didn't provide. In the disguise of GAs and Acteens, I met my 'bestest' friends, spent hours of doing what teenage girls do best, jabbering! We made some memorable (and questionable) decisions - like when Carol, Pam, Susan and I stuffed into Brenda's Henry (a.k.a. a pea green late 60s Mustang) and rolled our Acteen leader's house, or when we borrowed my dad's 48 Chevy and spent my 16th birthday at the drive-in (THAT is a another tale). It was fabulous. As an only child, I lived for church because that is where I found the sisters I never knew I had.
At that time, I had no idea what a lucky girl I was. Not only did I make some of the most enduring and long-lasting friendships of my life, but I also formed a relationship with God that would carry me through my unpredicted later years. Although I'm not as consistent, shall we say, as I once was, when it comes to walking through the church doors on a weekly basis, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't look UP and converse.
With that said, I am most assuredly not Catholic, but my husband is. Much like me, my husband's life was resurrected around the church, its traditions and beliefs. I tell him I would have been a horrible Catholic, with all that kneeling and stuff - terrible knees. I have visited St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York, purchased a beautiful pearl-like rosary and even lit a candle for my daddy. I'm sure I didn't "do" it right, but in my simple mind, I was close to God and my daddy.
Every year since the beginning of my life with Len, we have celebrated Christmas by attending Midnight Mass at St. Joseph's in Athens. Much of the time, I was lost, but followed my husband's movements as best I could. It was a long way from Bethlehem Baptist! If my prayers were answered, Rev. David McGinness would lead the service. I first met him at St. Mary's Hospital when he comforted Len as his mother was slipping away. Such peace, humility and grace he brought with him.
He's a man of small statue, heavy on the Irish brogue, and shockingly, very entertaining. At masses, he always began his remarks with a comical tale and then shifted into a deeper lesson. He did so this Christmas night when he began with a scale and ended with a birth. "There was no room in the Inn," he began matter-of-factly. Such a disappointment for those who missed this blessing, he continued. And why is there no room today? Such clutter. Such unnecessary stuff.
As life begins in 2012, I want that stuff gone. Those thoughts erased. Those people that make me sad. The events that I can't change. The lives that I can't touch. I don't want to miss out because I didn't make room for the important moments, people, events.
This year, I will make room - daily, moment by moment, breath by breath. For my husband who unselfishly gives me his heart; for my children who still hug me and want to spend time with mom; for family who never forgets the history that glues us together; for my heritage, one that has built my character and won't let me down; for my career, one that gives me such enjoyment; for friends who make me a priority in their life, not an option. I don't want to wake up this time next year and realize, with disappointment, that I missed the King.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.