Many years ago when I had my first spiritual director, she gave me an assignment. She asked me to write what she called my “spiritual history” from as far back as I could remember. That was a very meaningful exercise with surprising results.
One of the stories I told was something I remembered from my childhood. I was in Sunday school. We were given paper and crayons and told to draw from a story in the bible. I remember, just a small child and already having some artistic skills, being on the floor drawing the Egyptian army with their horses drowning in the Red Sea. I remember how proud I felt about my drawing.
But I also remember something else. I remember looking up at the Sunday school teacher, probably to get her approval. She was sitting in a chair beside the priest (Anglican?), and they were looking at me with concern and whispering to one another. I remember feeling embarrassed. I also remember everybody’s drawings being taped to the wall… except mine. Even at a young age I figured that my drawing was too graphic. Too inappropriate. Too honest.
Now that is interesting to me! Here I am around 50 years later, and what has changed? I’m still drawing pictures that are too graphic, too inappropriate, and too honest. And my relationship to the church and those in authority hasn’t changed much either. I’m still raising eyebrows and generating whispers of concern. So I created my own wall, my blog, where I can hang up my own stuff. So there!
So here’s an exercise for you: can you remember an early childhood story that defines your relationship to the church now? Can you detect your present spiritual flavor early in your life? Can you recall a childhood story that is a prediction of your life now?
Tell us. We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment on this blog.