I was eleven, a very fragile age. I didn't feel well-liked in school. I ended up being home-schooled the second half of my sixth grade year because I didn't want to deal with the other kids. My family was going to a Missouri Synod Lutheran church in Fairborn, a 25-minute drive away. Those mornings, slightly carsick--little breakfast, curving roads, smoke from Dad's Lucky Strikes.
I was in confirmation class. I remember the booklet--an illustration of Martin Luther on the cover. I don't remember what I learned, or how far I got. All I know is our family left the church before I could finish. I'm sure Dad had his reasons--I have only a vague sense of a difference of opinion with the pastor. But the result was, I was never confirmed. I could not take communion, according to our tradition.
The first time I went to Saint Bart's, I knew from reading their website that I would be welcome at the Eucharist--they only ask that you be baptized in a Christian church--but I was nervous. Luckily, a friend was with me, a lifelong Canadian Anglican who showed me how to hold my hands for the wafer and took a sip of wine before me, kissed my cheek when we exchanged the peace. It was New Year's Eve and a very small group congregated in the chapel while the main sanctuary was being set up for a festive concert. The priest spoke with a southern accent about his memories of Christmas, and his associations with the passage that tells us "Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart." It was my first communion.
Today, I will be officially confirmed--go up front, speak the words, receive a blessing from the Bishop. I'm nervous, excited, probably no less so than I would have been at twelve. It feels strange to be doing this at my age, although I will be in the company of many other adults, all of us settling on this particular spiritual home. But it feels very good, finishing what I started over three decades ago, becoming an adult in the faith, belonging somewhere at last.