Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Doobie Files #1

I'm trying to focus this year on being selfless. At the close of 2009 I looked back to try and figure out what my resolutions needed to be for 2010 (still don't know, by the way, if I'm saying it "twenty ten" or "two thousand ten"... though I think the former is beginning to take the edge). Major events included getting a role in the spring Village Players show, training very hard most of the spring and all summer and fall for the marathon, and landing a lead in the fall musical. I looked at all this and thought: wow, what a selfish year. I did all these things that I wanted to do. And, not to break my arm patting myself on the back or anything, I did them all pretty well. They took countless hours of time and an incredible amount of my mental energy even when I wasn't directly involved with them. I'm not sure the people in my life exactly suffered for it, but there sure was a lot of "me" time in '09.

So in the early days of 2010, I still hadn't figured out exactly what I would resolve. I really loved 2009... I mean, look at how AWESOME I was!... but I knew I needed some new theme for 2010 and it had to involve putting other people and their needs in the spotlight. As I batted around ways to increase my selflessness one day early in January, I received a call from the Senior Warden of our church's vestry. (If your not Episcopalian, basically this is like a Chairman of the Board position for the church... pretty much.) She was wondering if I would be willing to serve on the Vestry. I babbled for a few minutes, asked about the commitment and told her I needed to think about it but I would get back to her.

When I hung up I chewed on all the reasons I go to my church. Is it because I really, really believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection and the Father, Son & Holy Ghost? Awful as it sounds... ummm, no. Trust me. I've tried to believe. An old friend even sent me a book on it, sure it would convince me of The Way. Nope. Still don't think I really believe in that. (Cue the lightning striking me dead. No? Not today I guess....)

The real reasons I go to my church are vast but have little to do with Biblical miracles. I go for the music. I go for the familiarity and peace I get in the pomp and circumstance. I go because I like my kids to go to Sunday School and knowing that even if they leave the church as I did for quite awhile, they will have some kind of spiritual jumping off point. But mostly I go because it connects me to a group of people who do amazing things for our community and the world.

And for me, it all started because of a gay guy.

You see, I had pretty much resolved myself to a churchless life years ago. I figured, if you don't Believe then you don't Belong. I even kindly (I hope!) declined my sister's request to be my niece's Godmother because I just wasn't sure I could lie to God about what I going to be for her. I not only didn't go to church, I was DEVOUT about it!

Then, New Hampshire elected "openly gay Bishop" Gene Robinson. (I can't wait for "openly gay" to be banned from all use!) I was so very proud to be at least a former Episcopalian. This event directly led me heading to church. I knew that the hoopla about Gene Robinson was leading to media stories about people and entire congregations abandoning the Episcopal Church and I decided I wanted to prove (at least to me and the 4 or 5 people in my life who might care to listen to me) that this act by the church had brought back at least one stray. (I almost went with the sheep metaphor there but then I thought... no, too much...) In addition, I was also a little bit pregnant with my first child at the time and wanted to feel out what it might be like to bring this new baby up in a church. (Incidentally, shortly after his birth, Tommy attended a Confirmation service with me and met the Bishop for the first time. I swear that he was completely captured and at peace by Gene Robinson's presence.) So, anway, there's that...

Then there is the fact that my church and our priest are so incredibly dedicated to helping everyone in need, regardless of their faith (or lack-thereof). Off the top of my head I can think of dinner bell, the consignment shop, food pantry, caregivers (volunteers who drive those in need to medical appointments all over the region), preschool... And there are so many other pro-social, non-evangelical things our church does. Amazing people, really living up to the church's name, All Saints'.

So, I decided fairly quickly that even if I am not 100% confident when I recite the Nicene Creed and even if I give a mental wink when I take communion each week, this vestry thing will suit me. I haven't had a meeting yet. It's a 3-year commitment. (Which means I'll be smooching up to 40 when it's all over!) And I am a little worried that my, ummm, verbal irony may not be met with a warm embrace by all the members of the vestry. But, they wanted someone who could represent families with young children. (Check!) They wanted someone who would have a perspective other than that held by people over age 55 and wealthy (Check and REALLY check!) I think I will learn a lot and I think I will get a great deal out of it.

So, that's Selfless Act #1 of 2010. Stay tuned.

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