As a seven year old: Sitting on the stairs picking up the laundry which my mom had folded and left there for me to take to my room, and overhearing the words spoken from my big brother to my mom, “He is just different… in a good way. I think Crews would be a good priest” and finding, in a moment, that the statement resolved everything. There was no sense of “What a good idea” or, “That is an interesting thought” much less what I would think to be the normal reaction, “My brother is out of his mind!” Instead, I took those words, and understood that they gave voice to something of me I did not know how to articulate.
My family was Episcopalian, and the parishes in the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas were the only thing I knew of Christianity other than most of school friends were Baptists but seemed to believe what we (I) believed. I had no idea that their pastors were not priests. On television, and in movies, Christian worship was always centered on an Altar serviced by a Priest.
I suppose a brief aside is appropriate here…
The difference between a priest (in any religion) and any other religious minister is that a Priest makes sacrifice
Anyway, at about ten years of age, I risked hinting at my secret and told my Mom that I wanted a Bible for Christmas. The Bibles at home were all King James, and there was a modern English paraphrase out that was popular with my friends. I pretended not to notice my Mom’s delayed response, the confused look in her eyes, and the almost stuttered reply, “Uh, well, we’ll see.”
As I grew up, my family continually rose from upper middle class to out right wealthy, and presents were plentiful for my brother and me every Christmas. Like many families, we shared the tradition of getting to open one present on Christmas Eve, either after a light dinner or after we returned from the midnight mass. It was after dinner that night that my brother suggested we open one before we had to start getting ready for Church. My parents agreed, and off to the tree we went.
I am, even today, a terrible poker player. I give away too much by body language and facial expressions. My parents sat silently, exchanging wordless glances of what appeared to be concern when I pulled out the wrapped package that obviously was a book, and of the size and shape of a Bible. My Mom said something about choosing another one-- a toy or something. I was not dissuaded.
My parents were devout. To this day, I do not understand their behavior. At any rate, I read the first few chapters of the Gospel According to Mark before getting dressed for Church. In a few days or weeks, I had searched for and found many references to visions, and while it offered no real answers as to what to do about them, it reconciled these mysterious insights, as out of time and place as they often were when received.