“My Church” – Maren Morris

Well. You knew we would meet here eventually. What does a human that has spent 45 years embedded in church do when its…gone? Well. Let’s just say some habits die really hard. I still have this weird off-ness on Sunday mornings. Not missing. Not even longing. Just weird. I find myself confident in what I don’t want today, but questioning if there is any part of the rituals and traditions that I want to keep. Let’s just say, much like country music, it’s complicated.

One thing is for sure, if you have been raised with something as central to life as the church was for me, and you take it away, you will find things to fill the hole. This is not a judgment. This is just truth. You cannot pull a life so deeply rooted in one soil out, and not replant it. In something. It will die. That’s just science. Once I made peace with that reality, I quit fighting the replanting process. Because ohhh, its a process. The day that I decided that guilt and hyper-responsibility would not lead in my life, the ‘should’s’ had to go. And that included the many that I say to myself daily – especially about the ways that I should feel about the church.

In my current work, I interact with many churches on weddings, funerals and special events. I have been invited to church at almost every church in town. I know about the women’s events. I hear about the things. From all the people. That’s just small town life. Here’s the twist. Not a single person in town knows what my last 20 years have been like. There is nothing about the life that I lead today that would make anyone think that I have been anything but a stay at home mom from Houston. It’s sooooo weird. But the genius is that I get to be the outsider that sees how the churches work. Like a real person. Not from the inside. And it has only confirmed things for me.

“What church do you go to?” That’s a question that I was not ready to be stumped by. The guilt that comes with it is nasty. And so revealing. Because it’s not just about me. “I don’t go to church” out of my lips is also me not wanting something that is clearly important to you. I really long to get out of the way today. I just don’t want to hurt or influence or even speak in these situations. After sitting with the discomfort, I asked myself if this was a relationship issue or a being lazy on Sunday morning issue. And it was all relationship. It’s over.

This finality freed me to be planted in new guilt-free churches this year, and the one that Maren teaches us about is a favorite. There is not one thing like an open road and a good song. On a hard day, I drive out the narrow two lane road into the Texas Hill Country. If JoDee had flipped another quarter, she would have come to the Hill Country. And turned up that music. I can worship from my soul along FM1431. All the angst and grit and fight and tears. There is a Sonic on the way out of town and with a good Coke and a loaded playlist, I can find my way out…and back. The more I’ve thought about what I need in a spiritual experience today, that about sums it up. A full service travel agency or an open road.

See you at church, Chris and Jimmie.

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