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A VOID...LOOKING FOR GOD



                                      I opened the heavy wooden door and peered inside the
 Catholic Church.  It was shady and cool as I entered, placing my scarf around
 my head.  There were dim lights burning near the front of the sanctuary.  It 
was quiet, peaceful and empty.  I sat in a back pew and listened to the hush. 
few minutes passed before a priest came through a side door.  I hurriedly 
slipped out of the heavy front door into the bright sunlight.  The priest might 
have asked me why I was there and what I wanted.

       “What did I want?  What was I searching for?  I was curious about the large, impressive structure that bore a cross on its steeple.  I had started bringing a scarf to school with me, because I had seen my friends wearing scarves as they entered their church.  On my way home from school I slipped unnoticed into the church.
          Most of my friends were catholic, and they would talk about going to mass.  They seemed to enjoy their religion, and if anyone asked them what church they belonged to, they would proudly say, “I’m Catholic”.  Our family had not attended church since we left Philipsburg.  Mom said a person could worship anywhere and especially in the great out of doors.  However, we never worshipped in or out of doors.  I felt a void...something was missing.  I had made up my mind!

          “I’m going to become Catholic,” I announced to Mom when I got home.  Mom’s eyes widened and it took her a few minutes to find her tongue.
          “You can’t!  We’re...we’re Presbyterian,” she stammered.
          “We never go to church.”
          “I want you to talk to a minister!” Mom said firmly.
          The next day, after school, Reverend Whitney came to our house.  He was the Methodist minister.  (Later when I asked Mom why he wasn’t Presbyterian, she said the denominations believed the same.)
          “Gloria, have you been baptized?” the balding man asked, as he studied me through thick glasses.
          “You mean in water?”
          “We don’t immerse, we sprinkle with water.  Have you ever been baptized?”
          “No sir.”
          “Your mother tells me you want to become Catholic.  Is that right?”
          “Well, yes sir...I’ve been thinking about it,” I answered.
          “Gloria, beginning next week on Tuesday evenings, I’m going to have a two hour study on Catholicism.  Will you come?”
          “Well...I don’t know, “I hesitated.  I had no desire to sit for two hours and listen to a study.  I turned toward Mom.  She shook her head to the affirmative.
          “I guess so,” I sighed.
          “I strongly urge you Gloria, to be baptized in your faith.  Has everyone else in the family been baptized?” he asked Mom, as he peered over his spectacles.
          “No.”
          “The rest of the family should be sprinkled also,” he said firmly.
          The following Tuesday evening, under Mom’s insistent urging, I sat with six other people and listened to the minister expound against Catholicism.  He spoke of atrocities performed through history. But, he never mentioned other barbarism done in the name of Protestantism.  His gaze, through his thick glasses, kept returning to me, as if he wanted to be sure I was getting the message.  I listened, but what he was saying didn’t sound like my Catholic friends!
          Two weeks later, on a Sunday morning, Mom, Deryl, Bronco and I stood in front of the Methodist Church.  I was holding the new white Bible Mom and Deryl had given me.  Our family vowed our belief and was sprinkled.  We attended faithfully, until Deryl was asked to be a deacon a few months later.  We quit attending.  Deryl and Mom said, “They expected too much too soon!”

It would be years before I attended church again.

Deryl
         
      Mom took the pictures. Our house in Socorro, New Mexico. We were all going to be baptized 
Bronco and Gloria
(Not immersed) at the Methodist Church. I was holding my little white Bible.                                                     


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