It is like black and white TV — everything is there, but it has no life, even though the images are moving. Its slightly depressing. Just black and white.
That’s how my life was. I went to church every Sunday, was polite to people in authority, and never cheated on my tests in school. Occasionally told small lies — by the way, why are some lies white? Wouldn’t if be more fun to tell orange or blue lies?
I had major challenges growing up — but I did eventually. I always knew something was missing though. Now skip some years to the middle 1980s, where I found myself with an amazing husband, and two kids — they were also amazing when they did not teach the dog to swim in the toilet, or fell out of trees. My life was good — somewhat black and white tv-ish, but good, although I was often depressed. I struggled with low self-esteem too. Still went to church on Sundays, not that I wanted to, but because if I didn’t, I felt guilty. And, I was looking for that something I knew I didn’t have. I had no idea what that was. My husband was an agnostic then, so he didn’t want to go to church either, but he went to keep the peace.
Then another Sunday, and dragging our feet to church.
“This is the last time I go, unless something happens”, was my husband’s words.
So, I came up with an amazing idea. Since it would be the last time anyway, I suggested we did a daring and impetuous thing and went to an English church — English is not our home language. My astute take on this was that maybe if we heard “it” in English, it would sound differently. Whatever that “it” was.
Our church paradigm was shifted even before we got out of the car — this English church was held in a school hall! What? Is that allowed to go to church in a school hall? Would that still be church? Some confusion, but hey, we were all dressed up, so we might as well just went ahead with our plan.
Here is the thing about the ‘dressing up’ part. The traditional church we used to go to, had an unspoken dress code — suit and tie for men, proper attire for ladies — maybe very smart slacks, but preferably dresses. As we got to the door of the church-in-the-school-hall — all dressed up — we realised that these people looked like they were going to a soccer match. Denims and t-shirts. Are they Christians? Oh dear! I quickly whispered to my hubby to at least get rid of his tie, so that we can blend in. Yeah right. This was a small congregation and everyone knew immediately that we were visitors. But they were so friendly. Almost made us feel like long-lost family.
And then I found it. An old lady went and sat down at the piano, they started singing Jesus songs, and heaven opened. So this is what I was looking for all my life — to worship Jesus! Heaven wasn’t the only thing that opened, so did my tear glands. What a mess — crying and singing and loving Jesus at the same time.
The pastor was a clever and inspired man. Seeing the family with the funny clothes, obviously out of place, he told the church people how they could be saved. Gave the Gospel in a few succinct sentences. They graciously listened to the whole presentation. So did we. The astonishing thing was that it all made sense to me. How could I have missed it? But being shy, I would never make a fuss there in church and tell them that the religious rug had just been plucked from under my feet.
As we drove home, I was somewhat perplexed — we just had church for 2 hours in a school hall without thinking about food or movies. With people who never saw us before, whom we felt closer to than some of our blood family. Singing songs to a wonderful Jesus — in English — while crying copiously amounts of tears — because I was happy!
I could not describe what had happened, just that the black and white TV just became full HD colour.
Later that day, I quietly disappeared into the garden, marvelling at all the life I suddenly saw around me. Then I had my first conversation with Jesus. Oh what bliss! I eventually came down from cloud nine. And somewhere, amongst the tears, English Jesus songs, and talking to Jesus, the depression fled.
Other issues took longer to get rid of, and some still persist today. Who is perfect, anyway? My husband also found Jesus six months later, and so did our children. And then Jesus showed us that we were not the only ones who did not know Him. There were many, thousands, millions who were lost, just as we were.
Our Jesus adventure just went into overdrive.