My wife has been bugging me to write my story, so I decided to take a crack at it this morning. The title probably made you wonder if I was off my rocker, but if you will give me a few paragraphs, I'll tie it all together.
I was brought up in Wyoming in the Church of Christ. I have a few fond memories, of that, but mostly memories of rules and boredom, a few times of embarrassment. I really didn't get it as a kid. But then again, when children's ministry was sing a song and color a picture, how was I supposed to get it? We moved to Arizona when I was in 5th grade and never again attended a church regularly. My father wasn't into it, so I felt entitled to not be into it as well.
My Junior year in high school. I was working at McDonalds in Toltec Arizona with a guy who was a preacher's kid and he tried to bring me into the faith, but it took, Kris Weatherly to bring me to God in the band room at the Casa Grande Union High School. The problem was, I was in, then what? I had no idea and fell away and in a fit of pique, told my mother I was an atheist. I lived that life for 28 years.
The life of an atheist can be good if you get lucky, and can stay ahead of your appetites for money, fame, power, sex, women and the like. I wasn't lucky. I foundered into a failing marriage, money problems, health problems, kid problems, a divorce, a new marriage, more kid problems, more money problems. I was on several different anti-depressant and anti-anxiety pills. I was close to going on disability just for anxiety and depression.
In 2008 Obama took office, and I dreamt about him a few times and thought he might be good for the country. However, when his true nature started to take hold, I got angry. I wanted my country back. In 2010 and early 2011, I was travelling on business with IBM and ready to step in front of a bus to stop the pain. The personal pain I felt at my own failures, the distance and travel from my family, and the distance I had from my first three kids. I came back from New Jersey to Arizona to an empty house. My wife, mother in law and youngest son were gone to a cat show (don't get me started, that's another blog entry), and I had a gun show to go to in San Diego. I was making and selling pistol grips at the time and it gave me some purpose and a way to talk with people who felt the same way about the country as I did.
However, that trip from Phoenix to San Diego that night was special. I was tired and ready to pack it in. The thought of crossing the center line into a semi came and went through my mind several times. However, I got to talking to myself about the country and it's founding fathers. I looked at how incredible it was that an upstart nation, with just a few citizens could stand up the world's superpower and start their own country. Furthermore, that those founding fathers set up a system of government where the power rested with the people, not with the few. When you think about the writings of that time, they are truly inspired. A hundred miles of pondering that brought me to the conclusion that there was a God and he had helped the country get started.
A few months later, my wife went with a friend to her church on Wednesday night to hear the friend's pastor talk about "Becoming a Millionaire God's Way." She came back with a glowing recommendation of Pastor Tom and Living Word Bible Church. She told me that he was somebody I would like because of the way he talked about politics and history. I agreed to go with her the next Wednesday night.
That night was NOT the normal Wednesday discussion. It was a full on Easter service, packed wall to wall. Tina and Tara took turns watching me with small side glimpses, waiting to catch sight of when the atheist's head finally exploded. Much to my confusion, my head didn't explode. I got something out of it. After the service, Tina asked me what I thought. I told her that I thought we would be back on Sunday.
Since that Sunday we have only missed church on the weekends if we are out of town.