In Texas in the mid-to-late 1980s, my dad worked for a televangelist and tent revival preacher, R.W. Schambach. His granddaughter was a good friend. We lived on the ‘campus’ as we called it, which was the trailer home park near the office and headquarters of his ministry. There were some amazing experiences and memories living in that small little community of Bullard, Texas, moving through the forest until all hours, catchin’ lightin’ bugs, playing tag with all the other campus kids, catching crawdads at Little Creek, making mud pies underneath our humble trailer sure to avoid all those red ant hills, and running around with the dogs, Chopper and Lady, rummaging through people’s trash, because there wasn’t a regular trash pick up day, climbing the tree house, riding the neighbors go-kart full speed, these were just a few of the highlights.
The memories that were a bit mysterious for my 10, 11, 12, 13 year old brain were the social structures that existed during that period of time. What I remember vividly, was being horrifyingly upset because we weren’t allowed to wear shorts. Apparently God didn’t like shorts. (At least that was how it came across to me at the time.) We had to wear culottes. I was mortified. (What in the world are culottes?) Modesty was very important to maintain proper standing within the church system, so anything revealing was out of the question. I must say, to this day, I despise the word, culottes. These were no hipster fashion statement, they were just plain, and boring —the skirt’s evil stepsister.
Backstory: I’ve always been a bit of a rebel when it comes to what I’m supposed to wear. It sucks all the individuality out of picking an outfit for the day. At the young impressionable age of six, my mom got these adorable Winnie-the-pooh turtle necks, and WOOL no less. My mom was always freezing cold, and me, always a friggin’ heater. If you know me, you know I carry a fan with me in my purse. I’m a menopause-lifer. Even at six, I had hot flashes. My sweet friggin’ cold mom puts me
in this adorable little sweater, and sends me off to school with no other clothing underneath. I got so hot, when my mom came to pick me up at the day’s end, I was like the HULK dressed as Winnie-the-Pooh and I wanted to rip my clothes off in the car before I got home. Needless to say, my mom realized that my individuality was going to need to be embraced else she’d have to experience more Hulktastic episodes. So back to culottes, they’re dead to me. Don’t even ask me to wear them again. Don’t do it.
There was also an underbelly or darkness lurking in places on campus that you’d think would be full of light. There were subtle and not so subtle dogmatisms and religiosity that made living scary. I didn’t feel loved at times in the larger community. I felt judged. I also felt like if I did anything wrong, God was going to punish me. On another level, I knew this wasn’t what I really thought the God of the Bible was…but I was too young to articulate it at the time.
Many years of living in different places with some wild characters have taught me tolerance. I’ve had reach to a deeper place of loving people in spite of their misshapen ideas and radical interpretations of how to live this life and live in grace. Grace is my middle name. I’ve learned to make my faith my own. It’s personal. I’m blessed.
So in this time of reflection, I can’t stop the tears. Probably because I’m so tired and hungry and all the emotions of the past two weeks are flooding me.
I’m still hungry,
…but I feel full. Full of love.
Until tomorrow, The Big Day. (Pun intended.) Love you loves.