Friday, November 25, 2022

Momentous, Scary, and a Relief All at the Same Time (with copious exclamation points!!!)

Hey, y’all!

It’s been a while, right? Things have certainly moved right along since last I wrote. It’s been MORE THAN A YEAR! Four (or is it five?) vaccines later, and we’re back to semi-normal. I mean, I still wear a mask sometimes… sometimes not. There’s not really any rhyme or reason to it. Weirdly, everyone in my immediate family—and most of my extended family—has remained COVID free. Not sure why or how, but I’ll take it!

Bill's in COLLEGE, y'all...!!!!!
In other news, Bill’s been in college! His first choice was Tom’s and my alma mater (the mother of our souls?) UNC-Chapel Hill… since it has his fields of study (folklore and music.) It’s worked out GREAT for us! We get to see him all the time, but he’s also been learning some independence skills. He’s rooming with his BFF from first grade, Henry, and having a pretty successful first year—despite subsisting on a diet of pasta and desserts.

Meanwhile Tom and I are getting used to our empty nest… We’ve established some new routines —Tuesdays at the movies, Saturdays at the Farmer’s Market, shows at the Cradle whenever we feel like it... It sort of feels like we’re on a perpetual date! Not bad for a couple of old folks, I’d say! (Look how many exclamation points I'm using!!!)

Our other big thing is that we’re attending a new church now, after many, many years of being at our old church (35 for me, 20 for Tom). I used to unreservedly recommend our old church quite often—both in this blog and when I wrote a column for the now defunct Chapel Hill News. We had great music, the leaders and the people were sweet, and it was full of love and grace. They really saved my life at a time when it seriously could have gone either way. They were really like a family to me.

Just a coupla empty-nesters
out on the town!
But now… it’s been so heartbreaking for me, but I really can’t recommend it any more. It still has good music, and has many of the same sweet people in attendance... but the current leadership seems more interested in numbers, money, and self-protection than in actual love and grace. I have been giving them the benefit of the doubt for quite some time—but so many people have been hurt by their actions. A group of us have been trying to advocate for change and healing, but it’s becoming evident that we’re getting nowhere. And while I would still love to see change and healing, I’m going to have to work for it from afar.* 

Anyway, this new place we’re going is a mellow, sweet, neighborhood Methodist church. It's a bit heavier on liturgy than sermon, which is fine—I mean, I've probably got enough sermon minutes stored up to last me a while... The people are warm and friendly, and having grown up Methodist, it’s all very familiar and comfortable to me. Added bonus: no one is yelling at us, talking down to us, being bitingly sarcastic, or passing their own narrow view as Gospel truth. 

And I know that no church is perfect. Of course every church has problems! But I just couldn’t keep affirming with my presence and offerings a place where people were being hurt. And this new place may have its own troubles, but for now I’m going to show up, sing the hymns, and rest in it.

And that’s our news. If you’re not into church, it might not seem like a huge deal, but to me, it’s momentous and scary and a relief all at the same time. So… if you’re reading this hold me up in your prayers… as well as our previous church. I know I’m not giving specifics, but He'll know who you’re talking about!

*I say this all with complete acknowledgment that I myself am a lousy, hypocritical mess... and I could be totally wrong.

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