Tag Archives: Connecting

Um, This Is Church?

First, we were advised not to go to church. Then forbidden to go.

What?

I’ve attended since a newborn. As a toddler, I sat on the front pew as my mother played the piano. Mom dressed my brother and me in sleepers, as we nodded off before services ended.

Sleepers! In front of God and everybody! An indignity not to be endured.

Finally, Mom gave in, and I wore proper church attire.

Our small church supplied infinite hugs. I played hide-and-seek after services with friends more like cousins. And the potlucks! I still embrace the credo that the church supplies the ultimate food for both body and soul.

Best of all, I not only learned the song, “Jesus Loves Me,” at church, I grew in that truth.

As a teen, though, I fantasized about skipping services. Later, as a busy church music director, I occasionally longed to worship per TV, where everyone sang on key.

Sometimes, the following prayer cropped up: “God, just this Sunday, may I stay in bed?” Worshipping while wearing sleepers sounded downright spiritual.

Then the coronavirus, a dark angel, swooped in.

Watching online worship while wearing bathrobes, our shaggy-haired congregation probably looked quite biblical. So good to see our pastors. To drink in the Scriptures, living water for parched people in a COVID-19 desert.

Yet, a cyber hug can never replace a real one. When restrictions were lifted, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Except those — including seniors — considered high risk.

Steve and I took Communion at home on Maundy Thursday.

As a teen, I’d wanted to sneak out of services. Now I considered sneaking in.

Could I lie about my age to attend church? What if a bouncer carded me — “She’s got Medicare B!” — and tossed me out?

Reluctantly, Hubby and I continued online worship. The small congregation practiced “social distancing,” as if all had forgotten to shower. The long-haired, masked group resembled a gathering of hippie surgeons.

Weird.

Yet, I ached to be there. …

Finally, when seniors received a sort-of green light, Hubby and I donned masks and went to church, sitting miles away from friends we’d missed so much.

My mask fogged my glasses, causing hymn lyrics to disappear. The mask contracted when I inhaled, poufed when I sang. Still, loving the church family voices around us, Hubby and I belted out hymns with vigor.

Despite the odd, reduced gathering, Jesus was there.

We and our brothers and sisters at home pray fervently that soon, we will all be together again. Meanwhile, we connect through prayer, technology, and conversations across yards, streets, and parking lots.

Above all, we connect through joy that “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

Even wearing sleepers for church can’t take that away.

Upland Community Church — I’m not sneaking out now!

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Has the pandemic changed your church?

A Little Watering Excitement

Reading this title, even I think I ought to get out more. Who spends Saturday nights holding a hose?

Of course, I blame my parents for my less-than-wild lifestyle. Mom, a pastor’s wife with five stair-step children, gladly would have enjoyed a few uninterrupted minutes to do nothing but water petunias and breathe. But with little time to do either, she elected me.

I almost preferred babysitting my brothers. At least, they did exciting things like setting the sofa afire. Still, I created excitement when the little creeps ventured too close, spraying them into the stratosphere.

Mostly, though, I considered watering in the same class as listening to my dad preach. Both were good things I should do, but the tasks seemed to go on forever and ever, amen.

With young adulthood, watering ended. Watering fairies in apartment complexes waved magic hoses, keeping grass and flowers bright and pretty as a box of Crayolas. However, when Hubby and I rented our first house, we found, to our shock, that the watering fairies hadn’t jumped onto the moving truck.

When we built our first house, I served as Mommy to the new lawn, as well as to three children. The Goddess of Liquid, supervising input and output, all I did was nurse babies, diaper babies and water grass.

Though the job description has narrowed, I still spend hours and dollars every summer hydrating our arid property. Spending less money and effort, I could buy veggies and flowers at the grocery. But even beyond the scrumptiousness of homegrown stuff, watering presents other positives.

For me, it fills the place that being a soccer mom once held. Then, I could justify a chaotic house and a car resembling a McDonald’s dumpster on wheels in the name of supporting my children. Privately, though, other soccer moms and I considered our noble pastime legalized loafing.

But my children grew up. So, I’ve created a whole new concept.

If I water the flower bed near the street, half of Upland’s population walks/bikes/ Rollerblades past. Cute babies wave from strollers. Drivers stop dead in the middle of the street for conversation. I connect with neighbors, also looking noble as they water. And why not? We are greening the earth, as well as nurturing our inner loafers.

Actually, I keep quite busy while I water. Mentally scanning cabinets and fridge, I formulate grocery lists. I ponder my position on abortion. I review knock-knock jokes for our grandson. I pray for our sick neighbor. I count fireflies. I watch a dead-end street baseball game. I decide how to kill off the victim in my next novel. …

Who says watering isn’t exciting?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you the watering fairy in your family?