I got upset about something tonight, and Jesus and I went for a walk.
I was mad. Frustrated. After I vented, He completely changed the subject. “Remember that time you told me how much you miss church on Wednesday nights?” he asked me.
I started to say, well, yes, but what does that have to do —
“Just follow me here,” he said. “Think about Wednesday nights and vacation bible school and tell me everything you miss from that.”
Everything, really. I miss having something to do, somewhere to go then. I miss going to GAs at my old Baptist church down the road from my grandmother’s house, where we’d read a story about some missions thing and go cook in the kitchen in the fellowship hall. I miss playing basketball with the big kids. The camaraderie of Wednesdays. Making things at vacation bible school and bringing them home to show off what I did. Memory verses in Sunday school and stickers for reciting them. Reading out loud from my Bible and trying to understand what it meant but still thinking it was cooler than reading out of a textbook.
I’m thankful for my Catholic faith, don’t get me wrong. I love how full, how rich it is. But lately I’ve been remembering that my Father has been trying to get my attention for a long, long time. I was eleven when I “prayed the prayer” and Jesus stole my heart. I drifted and wandered, and I came back to church out of curiosity, and just wanting something to do when I was a kid, friends to see. It just so happened that He was there, and He made sure that whatever we did stuck in my memory.
One Wednesday night, our class went to the fellowship hall kitchen and made rice balls. We put ham and cheese in them. I had the most fun doing that, and I’ve loved making them ever since. Every time I think about rice balls, I think about GAs and church. And how much fun that was.
Every time I think about rice balls, I think about God. How weird of a connection is that? But it stuck. He had found a way in.
“I want you to find those things,” He told me. “Go find projects like that, like you would have made in vacation bible school, and things you can cook.”
Why? I’m in a completely different church now, right?
“Because when you did those things, you weren’t just in fellowship with your friends. I was there, too.” He smiled. “I know how much fun that was for you, and how happy you were.”
He loves to see me happy.
And He’s still here.
It might seem like such a simple thing, making a bracelet with beads on it or reading a story out loud. Or making rice balls.
But it makes all the difference in my little world, because He’s there with me. And we are just having fun.