Sunday, September 26, 2010

Back Home Again

Hey, it's good to be back home again.
Sometimes, this old church feels like a long-lost friend
-- And hey, it's good to be back home again.

Apologies to the late John Denver -- but these are the words that occurred to me in my recent decision (or decision reversal) -- even though John was singing about an old farm and not an old church! I had posted almost 3 months ago that at that time, I had pretty much decided (resigned myself) to joining a church I had been attending that seemed like a good compromise. I liked the pastor, the people seemed nice enough, the doctrine seemed pretty much on target, and though the services were more contemporary than I felt at home with, I thought I would maybe even get used to it in time. But I could never take that final step of joining. I felt that it was because I missed the beauty of the Lutheran services, and specifically the church I had left in June of last year and still had in my heart.

I realized that due to there not being an LCMS or other conservative Lutheran church in town, my choice would involve compromise in either distance, doctrine or style of service. I also have come to realize that despite my disagreements with some of the policies of the ELCA, there is probably no such thing as a church whose doctrine I would agree with 100% (there are some things none of us may ever know for sure in this life). So at the beginning of this month, I decided to try something. Since I felt it would be awkward to return to the church I left once again (having visited twice since I'd left), I decided to visit one other ELCA church in town that I hadn't visited yet and really give it a chance; see how it felt. So I did. I went there that Sunday and the following Sunday. As was the case with other churches I'd tried the previous 1-1/4 years, the people were nice enough. And the experiment was successful in that what I quickly realized that what I have indeed been missing was so many beautiful aspects of the Lutheran service that were missing from the last (Methodist) church I attended -- the sharing of the peace, the many responsive readings and musical responses, having communion every week as an integral part of the service (not just throwing it in once a month as a "symbol"). What WAS still missing was the one-of-a-kind warmth and love I experienced at the church I left from the moment I first walked in the door in July '08. I went back to the other ELCA church a second time to be sure. Early on in the service, because it started an hour earlier than the place I now saw has always been "my" church, I felt the strong urge to run out the door in time to make the service there. But because this would have been obvious and I would have felt rude, I stayed till the end, and now I KNEW where I would be the following Sunday, the 19th. I knew it would be just a little awkward, but the awkwardness would be mainly on my part. I knew I would be welcomed back with open arms -- and I was. The interim pastor who has been there for many months, but who I had not yet met, has apparently decided to stay, and I like him very much (and he agrees that what has happened with the ELCA is "heartbreaking"). We have lost some good people, but most stayed for the same reason I came back -- because they realized there is no place else like this place, so they stayed in spite of the ELCA. So.....after 1-1/4 years of searching and trying in vain to make someplace else work out, I have come full circle and am Back Home Again.

I had a birthday earlier this month; it fell on Labor Day as it sometimes does. So it was nice to have the day to hang out at home instead of having to go into the office or take one of my few vacation days. The years continue to fly by and each year, I can't believe I'm the age that I am. But I've also gotten to the point where I am thankful to have achieved the age that I have, when I hear about people dying of sudden heart attacks and other reasons at my age or even younger. I continue to not get nearly enough sleep, get frequent headaches and remain 40-ish pounds overweight, and continue to realize I need to do something about this. Like the saying goes, "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself". I know it's not something to joke around with. But I guess that if it was easy, if it wasn't a constant struggle, there wouldn't be millions of people struggling with it. The day before my birthday, a Sunday, I visited that other ELCA church, then (regretting I couldn't afford to take a mini-vacation this year but having a desire to do at least a little something different), I drove 20 miles north to Silverdale, stopped at what apparently is the only bagel shop in this county (ridiculous!), bought a bag of 6 day-old bagels, a small cream cheese and a hazelnut latte, had the latte and one of the bagels (which were delicious) and saved the rest to enjoy the rest of the long weekend, stopped at the JoAnn's and the Michael's and looked around, then drove back home. Then last weekend, Dianne and I went to the Puyallup Fair (the 6th largest fair in the U.S.), which we hadn't been to for years. We enjoyed looking at the crochet and other craft exhibits, the animals, and the commercial exhibits, and ate some delicious fish and chips. Then we made a few craft store stops and had chicken chimichaungas at Ranchero in Milton, brought a couple scones from the fair to her mom, and went back to Dianne's to crochet, talk and be with her three cute tiny dogs.

I've crocheted outfits for two more of the 5" Itty Bitty Babies and will get photos taken of them soon. I just finished a doily made of the Aunt Lydia's bamboo crochet thread I'd wanted to try. It's a bit too soft for doilies and splits quite easily. So I'll stick with the premium cotton thread such as my discontinued Opera, but now I know! I'm about to start an outfit in brown, sage and gold for a Ken doll who will be a companion to the Barbie in the sage, peach and gold gown. I had trouble finding the brown #10 crochet thread and thought I'd have to buy some from an eBay seller and pay shipping, but Dianne found a half-full roll that should be more than enough. I spent part of this weekend sorting through my crochet patterns and picked out some more to make in the near future (in addition to needing to start before long on Dianne's Christmas present; the big day is only 3 months away. Where does the time go; indeed! I miss the long days with dawn before 4:30 and dusk lasting till almost 10, yet in 3 more months, I'll long for today's 7:20 sunsets!