My parents told me that one of the first places they took me as an infant was church. We went to the church my mom had attended her whole life. It is within walking distance of the house where I grew up and where my parents still live.
Most of the people who attended church there were related to me in some way. Even those that weren’t blood-related were close family friends. My mom’s mom, my mom’s brothers and sisters, and all her nieces and nephews went there as well.
Sunday lunches were either at church or at my grandmother’s house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. You should have seen all that food! If it was summer, much of it was fresh from the garden my grandma had at her house. (We were eating clean before clean eating was a food trend. “Farm to table” was our way of life).
That garden was big – about one-third of an acre at its largest – and I worked in it every summer I can remember well into my 20s. Even after I got married and moved too far away to work it, there was a garden. Two summers ago was the first summer in all my years that there wasn’t a garden. The space is covered over in grass now, and frankly, it still looks weird. But, my grandmother, who will be 90 in a few days, said she believed it was time to be done.
Why am I telling you this? I want you to know me. I want you to get a feel for who I am and where I “came from,” so to speak. You’ve got to know my life to see God in it.
So, this was my childhood. My parents raised my younger sister and me in the house where they still live. We went to church. We worked in the garden. We played with our cousins. We went to school. It was a simple life. My parents loved us. They supported us. They taught us right from wrong. They took us to church when we were young and expected us to continue to go when we were older.
In my world, most everyone was like me: grew up in the same place where their parents had grown up, lived with extended family nearby, went to church… just simple, Southern lives. I saw other stuff on TV and in movies, but most of the people I was exposed to in the first 18 years of my life were more similar to me than different. And this was my happy little bubble for quite some time.
What was your childhood like? Did you live in the same place for most of your childhood like I did or did you move around? Did you live near close family? Did you grow up in church? Please share, if you like.