“Danseuse Giclee” – Edward Degas
The earliest story about me and church is told with great joy by my father from when I was 3 years old. I had attended Sunday school long enough to have a good idea of who God might be, and they were attending a week long revival. On the last night, my parents attended the service and were forced to sit in aluminum chairs in the back of the auditorium. My mother, being the doting mother and housewife, dressed me all in lace complete with patent leather shoes with wooden heals. My father said they set me between them on the metal chairs and while we waited for the service to start I stood in the seat and danced making a loud noise with my shoes. As the pastor entered and walked up the aisle, he was the picture of authority. He had slightly graying hair at the temples, he was American Indian (Native American – by today’s standard pc) and when he preached the veins bulged at his temples. As everyone was seated and quieting down I caught a glimpse of this stern man and watched, still standing in my chair as he rounded the pulpit. When the hush fell, I pushed out my chubby little finger and announced with a proud voice, “Look, Daddy, there’s God!”
Needless to say, the entire congregation turned over in laughter. The uproar was in full swing as my daddy grasped me by both arms and set me down hard in my chair. He said through gritted teeth, “Now, you sit there and don’t you say another word, do you hear me?” He was incredibly embarrassed “that his seen but not heard” little girl had just disrupted the entire service. I had tears welling in my eyes as I said, “Yes sir.”
And, just as the pastor got the entire group quiet again, I looked up at my daddy crying crocodile tears and said, “But, Daddy… I want to see God, too.”My father reports feeling an inch tall as the pastor again had to quiet the entire congregation from another round of raucous laughter.