It's funny... If you had asked me when I was a teen if I would ever become a Church Lady, I'd have laughed and said no. Those were the older women who take care of the altar, do the flowers, make coffee for everyone else, and preside over Sunday School, potluck suppers and funeral receptions. As a young woman, I couldn't see myself in that role. There were boys to meet and songs to be sung and an exciting life to get started.
Fast forward forty years and I am a Church Lady. And surprisingly (to that former teen), I am very happy to be here.
The life that girl saw for herself wasn't really the one she wanted. She met boys. Married one. It wasn't good. She pretty much stopped singing once she left the church. And her exciting life was a little too exciting at times, putting her in fear for her life during a couple of those adventures. Along the way, she learned a lot - what she wanted in life and what she didn't. Church Lady never even occurred to her as an option. Going to church at all wasn't even on her radar.
I'm glad I'm not that girl anymore.
My life is better now. I'm married to someone else and it's a very good marriage. I have a son, whereas before I couldn't see myself as a mom. I live in my home town and a couple of years ago, I went back to church.
And today, I am a Church Lady. I'm the secretary for our Episcopal Church Women's group. I'm on the vestry. I even teach Children's Church, make coffee and organize potluck suppers. And as of this past week, I've also helped put on a funeral reception for a very beloved member of our church who died suddenly and unexpectedly despite her advanced age.
It was almost like coming home. Slicing cheese, laying out plate after plate of food brought by the congregation, washing plates as we went, making tea and coffee and cleaning up afterwards with the other women of my church was kind of like a Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' farm. Everyone pitching in and doing what needed to be done, dispensing smiles and punch and the occasional hug - I realized that in a big way, these people had become my extended family.
That teenaged girl didn't know the gift of adult participation in the church, but this middle-aged lady does and I'm proud to call myself "Church Lady."