Growing up, my dad made a deal with me.
If I went to Sunday School at our church with a smile, he’d guarantee a McDonald’s Egg McMuffin Happy Meal on our way into town. It was bribery, sure... but I felt like I had a choice!
(And let’s be honest: It was worth it for the new toy nestled in that glorious cardboard breakfast box.)
As I got older, and the toys lost their luster, I remember asking my parents why I still needed to go to church rather than sleep in or hang with my friends. Dad always said, “All I ask is that you stick it out, and once you’re in high school, you can decide if you want to keep going.”
I did what he asked and promptly stopped attending after 8th grade, other than the occasional special Sunday. Dad would always ask me after that, “You coming to church tomorrow?” with a knowing grin.
99% of the time, I said no!
My parents respected my decision — and even after all those Sundays at church, I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. When we spoke about it, Dad would reassure me, “You’ll find a spiritual connection when you need it.”
Flash forward to 2009, when I was fresh out of college.
I was living in Madison, Wisconsin with a million friends, working my dream job in a city I loved, and yet… felt totally empty. I was unhappy with my body and confused as to why I hadn’t met the love of my life — because wasn’t that the point? I was wholly uninspired.
It made exactly no sense.
As I was brainstorming ways to get my life in order, I remembered Dad had told me during his college days in Madison, he would attend Sunday service at a church nearby.
Lo and behold, that same church was still standing. I’ll never forget my first time back in a pew, holding a hymnal in my hands. After an incredibly moving sermon, powerful organ notes blaring, and emotions swirling in me, my eyes brimmed with tears and my heart tightened in my chest. To this day, I don’t really know how to describe what I felt other than: Spiritually inspired.
It was a first.
Although I’d found a breadcrumb on the path that day, it wasn’t what I’d call “the start” of my spiritual quest. I didn’t rush out and become a member of the church — and it would be 2 years until I found a method to mend my relationship with my body, and another 5 years until I was exposed to spiritual teachings I could sink my teeth into.
But I knew something had definitely changed inside me, and I was so grateful for Dad’s guidance along the way. Bribery and all, he knew that sooner or later I’d need to chart my own path inward. He gave me all the support he could, until I was on my own.
And eventually, I did find my path… and what happened as a result blew my mind.
I’ll tell you more about it tomorrow...
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.