My first and strongest memory of my faith beginning isn't related to a family member, or participating in a sacrament, or witnessing a miracle. Strangely enough, it's about the emotional reaction I had when someone said something about me.
I was in fifth grade and had recently moved from the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago to the northern suburbs. I was attending a new church and new Sunday school class with kids I didn't know and a teacher who was the father of one of my classmates.
On one particular day that I don't recall the rest of, after a Sunday school lesson I don't remember the topic of, my teacher walked over to my father and exclaimed, "Boy, she sure asks a lot of questions!"
My father chuckled.
I, on the other hand, was paralyzed with fear.
Blood rushing to my face.
Naturally, questions bubbled up in my mind at lightning speed. Was he suggesting I was a skeptic? Scolding me for not knowing my religion? Or was it a compliment?
This moment was pivotal for me.
In my young mind, I was under the impression that there were two paths to choose on a faith journey: listen, accept, memorize; or be curious, ask questions, and form your own conclusion. I charged down the latter path wholeheartedly, and over the years it has become an extension of my personality.
Asking questions has led me to unlikely friendships I cherish, a career in communications that I am proud of, a parenting approach that provides relief in balance, and a church home that not only embraces questions but encourages them.
Questions have helped me form a deeper understanding of my faith. The answers shape how I practice it day in and day out.