We got our dog, Trixie. She is a great fit for our family. Laid back enough not to ransack the house. Sturdy enough not to mind playing with the boys. A daily walk or two and she’s happy, but she’ll run with me if I want. She is not aggressive at all, she likes to sleep and be pet. And, when the house gets too busy, which is often with as many preteen boys run in and out, she puts herself in her crate and rests. She is definitely my dog though. If they guys give her a command, she looks at me to make sure it’s ok to listen.
Saturday, I believe, I was sitting at the table. I had some treats for Trixie, I snapped my fingers, and she came running. I held my hand up, she sat and stayed, until I tossed the treat. I patted my shoulders so she knew it was ok to jump up, and she did and gave kisses. Mike laughed at us. He said “You really did get the perfect dog. But, why wouldn’t you. Everything about your life is perfect. It always is. ”
I just stared at him…I finally said “Did you seriously just say that to me? Really? This week?”
He acknowledged that he had put his foot in his mouth, but explained why my life was still so much better than his. Luckily I wasn’t trying to win the victim contest, so, I resigned and let him have the title.
Brad and I found a church we wanted to try. We’d been once before, while not impressed, we weren’t against returning. And, since I was using a cane, and we were running late, we decided to go to a church we had already been to. Mike wanted to go with us, because his soon-to-be-ex wife is still sleeping with a married guy and still going to their old church, so he’s looking. I explained the church was pretty liberal, which according to some things he had expressed, I didn’t think he’d like. But obviously, he was still welcome to come with us.
So, we went. And, we parked next to the car with the Coexist bumper sticker. We were a couple minutes late, and I sat in the back, they followed me. We sat next to two women who were holding hands. At the welcome, we shook hands with the guy in a pink ruffled shirt, orange plaid pants, and more metal in his face that I have in my computer. People hugged me, and introduced themselves, noticed we were new. We listened to the sermon, about how people pray. That too many people raise their hands to the sky, and pray “Here I am God, bless me!”, when we should be saying “Here I am God, use me. Send me!”. They gave the call to communion, and to my shock, my husband left me on the pew (not out of jerkiness, but out of my wishes, I was feeling wobbly), and he went up. When he came back, he seemed a bit choked up. I felt a bit choked up. I asked what was up, he said he thought he found where we might belong. The closing song is always a hymn, in two different languages. This week it was English and Swahili. Mike, spilled his coffee in the sanctuary. Even though signs said no drinks. He played Star Wars games on his phone during the sermon. He texted his friends. When it was time to leave, we walked out of the sanctuary, through a side door. We got almost to the main doors, when the associate pastor came running to us. She said she was us, noticed we were new, wanted to make sure she had said hello and introduced herself. She asked about us, talked about why we were there.
We walked out, and I asked Mike, “So, what’d you think?” and he said “Well, I don’t know. I mean, I need to do a lot of research about their beliefs and everything, to make sure this is a doctrinally sound church. I don’t know. ” Which was really kind of what we thought he’d say.
Brad and I both bristled, privately, at this statement. Doctrinally sound. Mike and I are gonna have a talk. According to the Bible, my sister is supposed to be stoned for what she’s doing. Oh…but the Bible didn’t really mean that. We have been to any churches that made us feel so crappy, we almost gave up. You know something really perverse? You go to a lot of churches, you read their websites…and they say “You are welcome, as long as you aren’t you. As long as you’ve never done XYZ. As long as you completely stop, immediately, any sin we don’t think you should struggle with, then we love you. If you don’t meet these criteria, well, sorry.” I went to this church, I felt amazingly welcome. I read up on their beliefs, and it all came down to “Come, worship, improve day by day, we love you.” and I honestly though for a second “Wait, you want me? This must not be a real church. You guys must not be real Christians if you’ll let me into the club” And, apparently, Mike agrees. How sad is that?
Just for fun, once I got home, I looked up what I think is our church. Mike’s church. my parents church.
UCH (Ours)-serve meals at the food bank, so the staff can have time off. Has a 20 acre field that is sold off every year, the profit goes to the food bank. Works with several long term places to assist mentally ill individuals stay off the streets. Volunteers with the AIDS task force. Part of the interfaith hospitality movement.
NH (Mike)- same tab at the top. Right beside their “donate online when you can’t make it in” tab. They have a preschool, and they pick up people for church who can’t make it in on their own.
CLC (My parents)- this one, I love. Help/volunteer. Click for more info. Do you want to help out in the church? We need ushers and volunteers for parking lot duty. In a disaster, they help the red cross pack a bus of emergency supplies. and, you can donate money to Uganda. Once a year, the high school class flies to the Dominican Republic (or insert someplace else) to teach vacation bible school to poor kids.
You know part of why we looked into this denomination? Because I wanted to go to a church that DID something. That helped. That was Jesus’ hands and feet. That knew they were an answer to a prayer. I want to love you so well that you, on your own, ask me why.