Sunday, August 1, 2010

Between Should and Will

I am at could.  This is a step up from where I recently was stationed at should, but not yet to a more productive will.  There are the further outer brackets of can't....which is not a good state to be in, speaking from experience, and the high quality did which I miss....tho' at did, it's done, and you have nothing to look forward to and only the memory to cherish, or re-live over and over again in a land of shame and regret.  Huh? I need to get out more if I'm examining machinations of little words to such a degree.

I'm actually happy with could.  It seems like a place of possibilities and choices.  I haven't felt much like there were choices and possibilities for me in quite some time, but they are starting to appear way out on the horizon, hence my sense of could....doesn't mean I will, but then again I might.  I think I'm starting to sound a little like Winnie the Pooh or maybe Owl who thinks he's smart, but always sounds confused to me.  He doesn't spell so well either, but no one seems to notice.

Today I went to church.  I'm not a church goer.  I fidget in church, lose focus, play with the little yellow golf pencils and handy envelopes for doodling or tic-tac-toe, (that's a funny name, but I'll march on with the thought process without taking that little side street) look at the ceiling, check my watch, and peek during prayers to see if everyone's eyes are closed.  I'm such a child inside this adult body.  But today I went because my friend, Rev. Becky,  was the guest sermon giver. I bet there's a better word for that, but I'm sure you know what I mean. I had left my church attendance decision at could rather than should and decided I would this morning; that way it wasn't a "have to" which is a whole other can of worms.

Fortunately I was able to grab a lift with my best she too is friends with Becky, so I could decide sort of last minute.  My best is very comfy at church.  She's currently in a chaplaincy program, so I anticipate more church for me in the near future.  With her interest in becoming an interfaith chaplain, she attends a lot of different churches....sometimes more than one service on a Sunday....phew.....When we arrived I let her select the seating and she marched us right down front where fidgeting and peeking during prayers is much harder work.  I'm picking the seats next time.

In addition to the sermon, Becky also led a prayer that had body arm poses in accompaniment.  That was very scary for a non church-goer such as myself.  And sitting there in the front I could scarcely make an 180 degree turn to see what the others were doing.  I opted to do nothing.....too much stress.  I don't think I heard the prayer.  I was too busy thinking that if I were participating in arm pose # 2 which had both the right and left arms up over head, that I might slip and do the remainder of Y M C A and get booted from the sanctuary.  My friend Becky, wouldn't mind....if she reads this she'll probably incorporate it into her next body posing prayer leading opportunity.  Church with humor.  I need a comedian preacher apparently.  Does Paula Poundstone do sermons?  She'd be funny and she'd include a lot of improv which would keep me paying attention lest she ask me "so ma'am?....yes you there in the front row playing tic-tac-toe with the little golf pencil....."

Moving along.  Becky's sermon was on prayer.  I listened hard, tried not fidget, and kept my eyes focused front rather than longingly out the large windows at the sunny day.  She was saying she had a hard time praying....really? But, but, but....I totally don't get this whole chaplain desire if you have a hard time praying.  She did explain she can help others, or pray for others, it's just herself-she has a hard time with her own practice.  She also had a list of 4 kinds of prayers (who knew there were so many?)  I'd like to say I can remember but, you know in one ear, circle 'round the brain, zip out the other side....maybe Naming prayers, Listening prayers, and Loving prayers and something else.  I was listening, really I was.

I did take a couple things away....and I think they provide personal points for, one thing was that God can have all kinds of names, hence the naming prayers....or maybe its just the naming part was how to start your prayer.....I'll have to come up with a name for my God.  I'll get back to you on that.  Remember, I'm at could, which isn't should or will....I have options. 

Something else I learned is that it's likely I pray just like Mother Teresa.  How HUGE is that?  I mean "yay me!"  Mother Teresa was said to have been asked what she says in her prayers and she answered "nothing".  And was then asked what God says to her and she answered "nothing".  She said she and God just listen to one another.  Right now, that is my prayer practice.  Somehow me having anything in common with Mother Teresa is a miracle in itself.  I wonder if God knows I have a hearing loss and listening isn't my strongest suit.

There was something else I learned, but I can't remember what it is now.  Oh well, I came up with 2 things, plus the future credit for adding YMCA movements to body prayers...I'm doing good.  And I did not try to engage anyone else in any games of tic-tac-toe tho' I did touch the pencil....oh that reminds me of the last thing I learned.  I touched the pencil because I actually took notes.  Well, a note.  Becky said that during listening prayers, that doing nothing is hard work.  That's what I wrote down "doing nothing is hard work".  I've felt lately that I'm doing a lot of nothing, so I'm glad to know that the result of my doing nothing is indeed hard work.  Yay me, again.

I failed to mention a woman named Joyce, or Jessie, or, Jo Anne....that's it; Jo Anne.  She was responsible for doing the mini-sermon/story for the children.  It's cute.  The kids come up front and sit on the rug.  Whatever.  I was busy tuning the whole thing out when I realized I was listening.  Jo Anne said we all have name tags on and they all say "Hello.  My name is God."  Well, I'm paraphrasing, but I think she meant you're supposed to be nice to other people and that when you are, similar to Santa's elves helping out, you're like a little messenger that God sends out to help someone in need.  I think that's it.  There were brownies and lemonade after church too.  I didn't know there'd be snacks.  They should mention that; more people might come.

When I arrived home today I did go right out an mow the lawn crabgrass (stir up the dust, grind the acorns, and shred any dropped leaves and sticks).  That apparently was my did for today, well that, a nap, and going to church.  I haven't done much else since though I could do lots of things if I wanted to.  I'll leave my options open.

The church has huge beautiful windows one can't help looking out, even if the sermon is extra good.

I'm sorry this isn't a better shot of Becky....but it's an action shot.  She's doing the "Rev in the back" thing and speaking with members of the congregation as they leave.  Had I known today's church visit would become what I would blog about today....I would have taken more (and better) photos of her.  You can't just start taking shots in the middle of church.  I think that's worse than using the golf pencils and playing tic-tac-toe.

At some point when I was trying to listen I noticed this cool circular trim near the front of the church.

During the reprise of the postlude I was able to sneak over and catch a few shots of the pianists hands in action.

This sign posted on a door inside the sanctuary near the front of the church I took as one of God's unsaid messages to me.  The Blessed Spirit was offering me a little humor to help get me through the hour.

It just happens that I was in Portsmouth NH earlier in the week taking photos in the late afternoon light.  I stopped at the church and snapped a few pretty ones.  This is one of 3 doors on the front of the building.

I did post these to my Flickr account and labeled the photo "With Grace".  I found them in the garden outside glowing in the evening sun.

From the outside, you can sense the grandeur of the windows.  I think there are 4 or 5 on each side of the church.

Silently this spoke to me.  I am always attuned to references about sound and hearing.


Jamie said...

What gorgeous words and photos

Clare B said...

I really enjoyed your discussion about church. I am not a church person - do go into what I think, feel and believe is too much for a comment but I tend to feel uncomfortable sitting and listening in church (or a synagogue or temple - I've done that too). But a great post.

The pictures are done with photoshop and I call them digital mixed-media, although I don't know if this is correct.