Monday, July 25, 2011

alternatives to church

as part of my seminary training, I interned at 2 uu congregations in the south metro area from september to june, and so spent every weekend at church. since that ended I've been at only a couple services at different denominations, mostly to experience different forms of worship, but this was the 1st sunday I'd intended to go to church but opted not to at the 11th hour.
the occasion was a visit from a friend of ours who lives now in atlanta and who we see only rarely. he had come north with his partner to attend a cousin's wedding and to visit my wife's father, who is in hospice care at home and who is dying. yes, we are all dying, but he is doing it a little faster than most.
it was a good day. people trooped in and out of my father-in-law's room and he even managed to get outside to visit the female couple next door who'd just come home. another friend we rarely see anylonger but who recently returned to the area also came over and it was a lovely opportunity for my wife and the others to relive, in some small fashion, their teen years when all three spent most days together. now with adulthood pressing in, with jobs and bills and mortgages--not oddly, none of them has had children--and death of course looming large, there was a different sense to it than I suspect there was 30 years ago.
there was a wistfulness to the conversations, a sense that there were so many things to talk about but so many things not to bring up simply because to do so was to start a conversation that couldn't be finished in the few hours they had. when we stood outside and said goodbye, each of them said, "I wish we could live together," in 1 way or another. I've heard other people say that too, usually friends who're in the process of finding new places and new ways to live.
watching them was a good way to spend a sabbath. their time together was holy.

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