Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Do you Want To Be When you Grow up?

I served as pastor of the Livingston United Methodist Church in 2005-2006. One morning I drove out to the Livingston Community to visit with a young family - James and Mary and four year old Morgan (not their real names) - who had become a part of the church.

Livngston United Methodist Church is about ten miles west of the City of Rome. Rome has been Floyd county's seat for over a century, with it's three colleges "seven hills and three rivers."

But in 1833 when Livingston Methodist Church was organized, that community was the Floyd "County seat. " Most of the people long ago moved away from Livingston church.

It is in a picturesque country setting and is one of the oldest churches in Floyd county. The beautiful cemetary ajoining the church has gravestones dating before the Civil war. But

Livingston membership is now small. We have only a few families, and Morgan is one of the few children in the congregation. I had made an appointment to visit the family because the elderly grandmother - Livingston's revered oldest member who had been a member and leader in the church since her youth - was sick.

James was at work, but Mary was on spring break from the school where she teaches. I had a great visit with Mary and Morgan and Mary’s grandmother, Sarah. Morgan, a bright and beautiful child, already knew her alphabet. She sat at my feet obviously enjoying my visit and writing her name and drawing pictures for me and for all of us during the visit.

Mary told me that someone had asked Morgan a few days ago what she wanted to be when she grew up. This precious little four year old girl said, "I want to be a preacher." Mary told me Morgan sometimes would line up her dolls and preach to them.

The same question was asked of me when I was four or five. I had never known a woman pastor. But if I had, I would have never and could never have envisioned myself as a preacher. In the 1920's when I was a small child, most little girls replied to that question by saying " a teacher" or " a nurse." But I also could not envision myself as a teacher. A teacher had to stand up and talk? I was too shy! A nurse? No! A nurse had to give shots!

What else can I plan to be when I grow up? A wife? A wife! I knew some women who were wives. I loved our Methodist pastor. "When I grow up, I want to be a preacher's wife," was said to be my timid reply.


Carol said...

"I want to be a preacher's wife." And you did - and so much more. That is such a sweet story! You may not be happy that I think it is "sweet" but I can visualize you as a little girl saying that.

Ruth said...

Thanks Carol.

Anonymous said...

You should be honored that the little girl COULD visualize being a woman preacher. She wanted to be like you! Smart little girl. Debi

Janice said...

This is a wonderful story; I love it! Like Carol, I can picture you (I've seen the pictures) as a little girl saying that. And, knowing you, I recognize the logical thought process that you described -- so typical of you and so untypical of most children -- to think through your response so carefully and logically. I love you! You are an extraordinary person and obviously, always have been -- even as a child.

Beth said...

I love that story as well. It is a 'sweet' story! You have been a wonderful wife, mother and role model. That little girl could see what the possibilities were because of you.

Andy said...

I'd be honored if you were my pastor as I am honored to have you as my aunt.