Still haven’t found what I’m looking for

The Pentecostal church I grew up in had drums, guitars, and tambourines. Hymns were old fashioned and easy to sing, and music literally filled the sanctuary and spilled out the windows for the benefit of the neighboring houses. People stood, clapped in time, tapped their feet, raised their hands toward heaven, and sometimes even danced in the aisles and around the wooden altar that stood in front of the stage. Songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” are as ingrained into my personal makeup as my Kentucky accent.

I left the Pentecostal denomination as a young adult because I was sick and tired of the constant onslaught of sermons dealing with homosexuality. Regardless of my disagreements with some of the denomination’s beliefs, I never stopped adoring the sights and sounds of spirit-filled worship.

It will soon be four years since I started attending a local UCC (United Church of Christ), and while I couldn’t ask for a more open and accepting congregation, I have never been satisfied with the style of music or worship. Most song selections are unfamiliar and chosen solely for their relation to the sermon’s topic, which leaves many of us struggling to sing or not singing at all.

I visited a friend’s church on Sunday – one that is the polar opposite of my church. Where we are quiet and reserved, they were loud and charismatic. Seeing a different style of worship was very interesting, but it was still a far cry from the church of my youth. This mega-church-in-the-making had a band and the music had a decidedly rock and roll sound. Songs were once again unfamiliar, so the words were projected onto large screens on each side of the stage.

After all these years, I still haven’t found a church that fulfills my expectations in the musical arena, and I’m beginning to wonder if a church even exists that combines both my preferred style of music and a non-discriminatory stance on homosexuality. It just doesn’t seem right that I have to compromise one or the other in order to attend church.

‘Miss U Much’

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

That sentimental tidbit was imprinted on the ceramic plate that I presented to a dear friend at her going away reception Sunday afternoon. Recent health issues are forcing her to move closer to her children, and although I’ve had a few weeks to prepare myself, I couldn’t hold the tears at bay. After enjoying a potluck and opening presents, she stood and recounted the circumstances that brought her to us less than a year ago.

Having just driven the majority of their belongings 11 hours to their new home, she and her husband had returned to pick up the remainder of their possessions when he died as the result of a heart attack. After the funeral and against the wishes of her family and friends, she decided to complete the move as planned. She explained that “you can’t just reverse course mid-leap.”

I remember the first time I saw her at church. She had briefly shared the circumstances of her move with a few of us after the service and then joined a large group of us as we went out for lunch. I, being an introvert, was struck by her willingness to step outside her comfort zone so soon after a devastating event.

Over the past few months, I’ve grown quite close to her. We’ve spent hours talking on the telephone as we planned weekly prayer services. I found her to be both highly intelligent and thoughtful. I have been left speechless multiple times by her ability to see things from a completely different perspective than most people. She has proven herself to be a true friend time and time again, even insisting on sitting in the waiting room during one of my recent medical tests.

I love her and I will miss her.

If we never meet again this side of heaven,
I will meet you on that beautiful shore.

Eye can see a difference

If the average human eye can perceive millions of colors, mine must see billions. I say this because when it comes to coordinating colors, I might be the pickiest person on the planet.

Case in point, a couple of days ago we decided to mix up the color scheme in the living room. It was time for the coral-colored throw pillows, abstract curtains, and large flamingo print to go. We found a fantastic set of lamps with crimson and gold shades and used them as our starting point.

Curtains seemed like the next logical purchase, so we picked out some panels that appeared to be a good match. Since the lamps were in the car while we were shopping for curtains, we had to rely on memory to pick just the right color. They looked pretty close at first, but started looking a little orange to me over the next couple of days.

“They’re too rusty,” I kept telling Honey. He argued until he realized it was useless and gave up.

So, I took them down and returned them for something more safe… and neutral. Unfortunately, as soon as I got home with the replacements, I decided that safe and neutral really isn’t visually appealing. These are going back tomorrow and I’m going to take one of the lamp shades with me as I continue my search for the perfect set of drapes.

Honey is used to me being this obsessive about color, but he still gets a little miffed at times – especially when we paint. He’d better brace himself, because the living room is getting a couple of coats really soon.

Boundaries

I took our neighbor to the emergency room yesterday evening – the second time in a month and both times from falling. The fall a few weeks ago required a CT scan and staples in her scalp. This tumble wasn’t as serious, but she has three cuts (one into muscle) and a very sore hip.

Neighbor lives with her son and I’ve discussed my feelings about him here before. While I don’t feel quite as negative about him as I did in the beginning, I do still have a problem with the way he talks to his mother. She has difficulty hearing, so he barks at her in a very loud, condescending tone. This behavior was in full force when we went over to get her off the floor and prepare her for the trip to the hospital.

Once we were alone, I asked her if she liked having him living with her. She thought a moment before saying, “It’s alright. I guess it’s just hard to live with someone when you’ve been used to living by yourself.”

One of the things that bothers me so badly is the feeling of helplessness that we have since Sonny moved in. She used to rely on us to help manage her decreasing mobility – by moving furniture around, performing chores that she shouldn’t attempt, etc. Now, the freedom to do those things just isn’t there.

To provide an example, the reason her arm was punctured this evening was because the handles on her kitchen cabinet doors are very old fashioned and have sharp edges protruding from each end. She said she literally had to lift her arm up off of the handle after falling. This is the second time over the last few months that she has fallen and cut herself on the kitchen cabinets.

After seeing the damage last night, I suggested the handles be replaced with something that has a rounded edge. If this had happened a couple of years ago, we would have taken this task on ourselves. Now, with Sonny around, the dynamics of our relationship have changed so much that all we can do is step back and hope he makes the right decisions to protect his mother from harm.