I remember being saved at Dee’s house. I was close to 6 years old wrapped fully in the imaginings of the Rapture–the horns calling me home, complete disappearance from this wanton world, harps and angels and bliss forever.
Dee is my sister, the second oldest of our brood, 19 years older than me. I’ve never known her without religion, and quite honestly, I don’t know her now. Our responses to the world are generations apart despite our shared heritage. But when I was a kid, these were some magical times.
The apartment Dee shared with her husband and young children was so different than the ranch house I was raised in. Religious art pronounced itself against egg-white walls. In the morning, there was Christian radio in lieu of the local country and western station. My parents were never much for board games, but Dee and her family would spend the after dinner hours playing Mouse Trap and Uno. And (gasp) they didn’t have a TV.
Because I was the youngest and Dee was the first to start having children, the difference in age between her first son and me is only 3 years. I spent a good many nights over at their place and my share of Sunday mornings visiting the Baptist church.
I think it is fair to say now that I have a very separate world view than that of my 6 year old self. Back then, religion was mysterious. How easy it was to become intoxicated with Bible stories and pageantry. It was the story of the Rapture that wound around me that late night entangling me with promises of love and faith. The ideas were so intriguing. Questions bubbled from my lips, “How do I get saved? If I pray today will it last forever? How will I know when the Rapture is coming?”
It was true, they said, I would be one of the few, the lucky, the forgiven.
That night I knelt and prayed by incandescent light. I offered my sin, that of a 6 year old girl, in retribution for the safety of my soul to ascend the golden stairway leading to my eternal life.