Posts Tagged ‘church’

Bad News & Good News

It has been an exhausting three days and I cannot begin to put it all into one post. First off, there’s the spiritual quest I have been on, trying to find my niche in the church after a five year sabbatical (and not even certain I want to be back in the church). Then there was the bad news. Which was followed very quickly by the good news. And somehow, they all intertwine with each other.

I’ve been reading Donald Miller: I finished “Blue Like Jazz” last week and opened “Searching for God Knows What” Friday. I was very convicted that I need to return to the church, but so unsure of what church and how. Without going into the politics of the thing, it was the politics that pushed me out. The church I attended has undergone some changes in the past five years (notably a change in pastors) and I have kept strong ties with some of the people from that church, separate from the politics and doctrinal issues. We were friends and we have remained friends.

For several Sundays now, I have almost – not quite – gone to church. That church. the one I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to but where my friends still are (for the most part: there remains a number of us who left and who won’t return).

Enter Bad News. One of those friends who remained at the church committed suicide on Sunday. A really nice, decent, honest, caring – you know the sort of man: there isn’t a bad adjective you can put in a description of him, except perhaps “depressed.” I don’t know the circumstances, only what was in the newspaper and the little I gleaned from the friend who called and told me on Sunday night. He jumped from The Bridge of the Gods into the Columbia River, some 145 feet below. There’s no body: the Columbia keeps her secrets for awhile. There were searches, perhaps still are some, but there were witnesses and there is no doubt that he jumped and died. I haven’t spoken to his widow (my friend) only because I have been asked to wait a few days by my ex-pastor’s wife, who remains one of my closest friends. Which is how the whole church thing ties in: I think God wants me to return to that church because I have such good friends there and unfinished business to attend to that involves those friends. If you had asked me a week ago if friendship was a reason to choose a church, I probably would have said it matters, but I was going for a more spiritual (holy holy) reason.

Perhaps friendship is spiritual enough, and perhaps it is more than enough to override our doctrinal differences. And I haven’t been there since the changing of the guard – I may just love it now that my good friend’s husband really is the senior pastor. Whatever the case is: I promised her I would be there on Sunday and I have volunteered to help the church members take meals to the widow and her children, just as if I had never walked out of those doors to take a sabbatical from church and politics.

But that’s only the church and bad news part of the past few days.

The good news came around 2:30 in the morning, Monday, when I was still reeling from the bad news and was trying not to dream of bad things. My oldest daughter called to say her water broke. She called back at 6AM to tell me she was at the hospital and would we  (her father & I) would come to be with her. Fortunately, we both have jobs where we can take that kind of time off on such short notice, and we went.

I’ll post a birth story from Grandma’s perspective tomorrow, but here’s the gist of it: Zephaniah Phillip came into the world slightly less than 48 hours after a very good man left the world. He weighed 8#12oz and was 20 3/4″ long.

Long before our mutual friend died, I knew I had to call my ex-pastor’s wife as soon as I became a grandma. 19 years of friendship. Our kids grew up together. A grandbaby is a big deal.

When we hung up the phone this late afternoon, we both asked the same question: why have we allowed life to get in the way? We need to celebrate life and embrace it – and nurture those friendships.

Tomorrow: Grandma’s Observations on Zephan’s Arrival

Read Full Post »