By the time I was ready to get married the first time, I was pretty well confirmed in my unbelief. At college all the folks I hung out with scoffed and avoided the Jesus freaks and Hare Krishnas that strolled the quad looking for prey. The only person I remember mentioning God was Les, who was so excited to meet a “nice Jewish girl” he could propose to. I hadn’t even known he was Jewish, but I sure enjoyed dancing at his wedding. For my wedding, I called up a judge to preside in my grandma’s back garden. I had a Shakespeare sonnet read. If anybody prayed, it was my aunt, who kept trying to convert me by giving me bibles. God bless her. The marriage lasted about four years.
By the time I got baptized at age 38, I was in my second civil marriage and had given birth twice. God was palpable to me in the recovery room after my first daughter’s birth. When the second baby was on the way, I said to my husband that I didn’t want our kids to be unschooled in things spiritual. I wanted them to go to church, and I would go too. If they wanted to reject God in their early adulthood, so be it. I wanted to give them something solid to reject. So, we started attending St. Mark’s Episcopal church and we all got baptized together on All Saint’s Day of 1991.
I carried my former atheism proudly as I slowly started to learn more, read more, and attend Christian education sessions. God works with whatever you give him. Looking back, I see his hand in my entire life, even though I was oblivious or incredulous. Up to this point, I saw my atheism as a good thing. I was not indoctrinated into any particular denomination at an early age. I visited all the churches of my friends and found them equally boring and incomprehensible. I respected my scientific education and honored the scientific method. I was free of the trammels of organized religion, like having to go to confession on Saturday (jeez, you mean the Catholics want to mess up your Saturday as well as your Sunday?), or wearing a doily on your head if you were a girl. Little did I know the bullet I had dodged.