Driving out to Oklahoma for Betty Woodward’s memorial service, I had the sense that part of the reason for the trip was to forgive myself…which felt odd. Forgive myself for what? Now, I wonder if the thing for which I feel I need forgiveness is being Baptist. Maybe it is. And maybe that assumption grows out of internalizing the thoughts of people who disparage Baptists.
The truth is, though, that there was much about Baptist life that nourished me. The Baptists, in their evangelical fervor, found me, for one thing. They took me under their wings. They nurtured me the best they knew how. They weren’t able to imagine some things for me, like a call to pastor, but….they did the best they could with what they had.
They did the best they could.
So maybe now I can love, really love, these Baptist folks. Many of the Baptists I knew—some of whom I’ll see on Saturday—were very good people, people who loved me. If they don’t remember me or remember me, but not with fondness—so what? They loved me then. And nurtured me. And helped me get to the place where I, eventually, was able to do the healing work I needed to do.
And that is something for which I can be very grateful.