Nope, nobody has been shooting at me or anything.
At least, not with real bullets.
I was sleeping-in this past weekend. My kids know the drill. My oldest son clambers onto the kitchen counter and grabs a bowl for himself and his little sister. He fixes two heaping bowls of cheerios for themselves while ol' daddy-O catches up on some Zs.
Mommy's out at the gym.
My kids know how to get to Cartoon Network, Dress Up Who, and Noggin.com. They know how to find their favorite TV shows on our Roku box.
They'll be fine.
Yet, I still wake up with a start after hearing the doorbell. Nobody was expected to visit. Who the hell is at the door?!
My kids get antsy and want to know who's outside.
I try to pretend that nobody is home and hope whoever it is will go away. But the kids have given away the fact that people are home.
It's my mother-in-law.
I like my mother-in-law. I do-- honest. She's not bad, overall. We had a rocky start, but we've long sense cleared that up.
My mother-in-law had left something at our house and wanted to grab it since she was in the neighborhood.
I was really, really wishing this would be more of a "grab-n-go" sort of thing. We established that my wife had accidentally taken what my mother-in-law was looking for with her to the gym. So at that point, I was hoping she would leave.
But nope. She didn't. Rather, she took advantage of the fact that now I'm her captive audience of one and proceeded to preach to me.
Not in a mean, ugly, nasty way. She's not like that with me.
But she started probing deeper than I would have liked.
She asked me a really hard question. She asked me "why".
Why did I stop going to church? Why did I lose my connection with God? Why?
What happened to cause me to lose my fervor?
She told me she could take anything I had to say. She urged me not to worry. She'll understand.
She asked me if someone hurt my feelings at church. She asked if she said something to offend me. She asked me if I saw some injustice that caused me to turn away from church. She asked me if I felt neglected by the ministers.
She expects that I have some grievance with church and church life. She thinks that I'm bitter about something someone said or did. Or maybe I've just become slightly confused about the truth of God's word. She seems to think that if I would just share my hurts and frustrations I would come around because God would give her the words to help comfort me and encourage me to return to church.
She asked if my wife (her daughter) was keeping me from going to church. My wife has openly voiced her disdain towards church with her mom (but not towards God. Those are two very different things, here).
None of the things that my mother-in-law expects is the issue at all.
"Tell me. You can tell me, son", she urged.
I can't. Not now. Maybe in time (not!).
She was persistent, but I managed to dodge the bullet.
I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this up, though.
I know she can handle me confessing to an array of things that keep many people from church. But I'm almost certain she'd be floored if I told her I have become an atheist. I simply have come to doubt god's existence. As a result, the church life has lost it's importance to me as an individual.
I bet I'd leave her speechless, until she tells my mom.
And that thought brings a lump to my throat.