When I ended a rough patch in my thirties with a loud wail to Heaven, the response on the other end of the line was so joyous, it was almost embarrassing.
"SHERRI! Where you been? I HAVE MISSED YOU!"
I tried to explain I'd been out doing this and that, dating felons, serving time for warrants. God cut me off.
"I know! I'm just so thrilled you're back. You were always my favorite!"
Of course He says that to everyone, but still, it's nice to hear. No matter how long you've been gone, no matter what you've done, you're always welcome back to God's house. I believe that certain embrace is the gift of faith, and if I can give that gift to my son, I will have done my job. We humans will always stray, always.
The story of Adam and Eve, whether you believe it actually happened or not, is the perfect example of how we humans will fail at almost every opportunity. But the amazing thing is that the path back to God is always lit, always safe, and always open. Like Motel 6, God always leaves a light on for you.
I hope my son knows that when he runs away God will take him back, no questions asked. I also hope he knows that I'll bend him over my knee and swat his behind with a wooden spoon. Because I'm human that way. So write yourself a permission slip to come back to God at any time. In fact, if you kneel while you scribble, you're halfway there.
I wasn't raised in a politically active family, and look at me now. Maybe it's the homework I do to prepare for The View, or Barack Obama's presidency, or the fact that I have a personal stake in the future (my son), but politics has become a very interesting subject to me.
I'm proof that you don't need a master's in political science to have an informed opinion. Start small. Follow an issue that has a direct effect on your life and you'll probably find yourself tracking the moves of the secretary of state in a few months. The other ladies of The View were miles ahead of me when I started, and I'm having fun catching up.
If you're starting from scratch, like I did, I have some advice: First, don't be afraid to ask questions, and if someone tries to make you feel dumb, start talking to someone who doesn't. Anyone who would belittle you for trying to get smarter is a jerk, and you can quote me on that.
Looking dumb is an understandable fear. All I can say is take comfort in the fact that no one has ever looked dumber than I did when I said I wasn't sure if the earth is round. On national television, and then YouTube, about ten million times (so far). Just know that you will never feel as intellectually humiliated as I did during the weeks after I made that unfortunate statement.
In fact, feel free to use me as a worst-case scenario to make yourself feel better. No matter how lost you feel when it comes to understanding politics or global warming or the defi cit, at least you know the shape of our planet!
The more interested I've become in issues, the more engaged I've become as a citizen. I've been privileged enough to meet ordinary women from other countries during my time at The View, and hearing about their lives has made me so grateful I was born in the United States. Like my faith, I want to pass on that gratitude to my son, and to the people I meet every day.