Finding the way back ‘home’

Published 8:26 am Thursday, January 10, 2013

A few months ago my co-worker, Anna, and I began this journey of sorts. She wanted to find a “home” church and I just wanted to find my way back.

Both of us coming from different denominations (her, Catholic and me, Methodist) we decided to go “church-hopping.” I know it seems terrible, but compared to bar-hopping or even bed-hopping it doesn’t seem so bad.

So we started a list of area churches of different denominations. We wanted to experience what everyone had to offer. If one of us heard about a church that piqued our interest it went on the list.

Our other co-workers laughed at us when we told them our plan. Some even labeled us the “Church Gypsies” (Patrick Bryant).

Yes, it probably seems frivolous to some. But for us it’s been just what we’ve intended it to be……a journey, both personal and spiritual.

My own path back began more than a year ago when my uncle Andy passed away.

It is hard to refer to him as just an uncle because he was so much more to me. Growing up without my own father around, uncle Andy (along with Aunt Maureen—my mom’s sister) was always there to fill in. Birthday parties, graduations, etc.—he was there for it all.

There’s no way I can describe how awesome of a guy Uncle Andy was and how much I appreciated his presence and influence on my life.

Uncle Andy was devoted to his family, focused on his career and above all had a deep faith in God.

It was that faith that he and my aunt relied on heavily when my uncle was diagnosed with cancer, the disease that would take his life in October 2011.

In 2011 during my annual trip to New York is the last time I saw Uncle Andy. He was very sick at the time and with every move he made there was pain.

But I never once heard him complain and his faith never waivered one bit. During prayer before meals he still asked for a cure and he still gave thanks for all he had. He still had a beautiful loyalty to God.

Despite being brought up with faith, I had lost it. Somewhere along the way it had become abstract to me, nearly non-existent. It scares me to even write that, but it’s true.

But through Uncle Andy’s trials I came to realize I needed to focus on the one relationship that mattered the most: the one between me and God.

I needed it, and I wanted it. Little by little I am finding my way back.

It seems each at church Anna and I visit there’s a message for me. There’s something I’ve taken away. I know it’s not coincidence. It’s there for me to hear.

Anna and I have no idea where we will end up on this journey, but at least we know we’re on the right path.

Amanda VanDerBroek is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald. For comments and column suggestions email: or call (252) 332-7209.