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It’s storming like a beast here… rain, thunder, lightening, the whole shebang. I kinda like it — I’ve always loved thunderstorms. When I was little, I used to sneak out of the house and stand in the front yard, staring into the sky until Mama realized I had escaped again and demanded that I come in. I remember one time though, that she came out there with me, and we just stood in the yard with the thunder until we were soaked.

I’m making peace with “the news” that I’m still not able to tell ya’ll… sorry, I promise I’ll divulge as soon as I can. I no longer get the sick, sinking feeling when I wake up in the morning and remember. And I’m no longer sobbing intermediately without provocation. That’s an improvement, right? Yeah, thought so.  And a special thanks to all you fellow “uglies” out there… thank you for sharing that I’m not alone in my uncontrollable hatefulness.

So about church — I really, truly like the church that Bobby & I have been going to. A couple of weeks ago, we decided to try Sunday School. A little background: I’ve never done Sunday School. The Church I grew up in didn’t have Sunday School… the thought was that children shouldn’t be coddled, and should be disciplined enough to sit through a hr-long sermon without wiggling, squirming, or any entertainment (some kids were allowed to have coloring books & crayons, but ole Marty made sure that his daughters were fully focused on the sermon). Anyway, I digress. Bobby and I decided to try Sunday School, and I confess, I didn’t like it initially. It felt forced — lots of big questions and serious discussion topics crammed into a 50-min time period with strangers, concluded by a schoolhouse bell indicating that time’s up. But I’ve often been one to make snap judgments, so agreed to try it again… and I liked it much better the second time. Maybe I just needed to adjust my expectations — I’m not sure what I was expecting, but once I made an effort to be open, it was much better.

Bobby and I are probably the youngest ones in our class, and we’re definitely the only ones without kids… I told Bobby that although I feel a bit disconnected, I would rather be the youngest than the oldest. And these are really nice, really friendly people who hopefully can provide mature friendships, guidance, and maybe even some baby advice when the time comes.

So this past Sunday, I took the plunge and checked the “interested in joining” box on my little registration form. (I know, what’s up with churches having registration forms?… that would have definitely thrown me off a few years ago, but I’m ok with it these days – am looking at it as just a nice, little organizational tool.)  Church membership is a foray into the unknown for me…. more than anti-Sunday School and anti-women’s rights and anti-pants/makeup/jewelry/movies, The Church was and is anti-church membership. As a result, I’ve resisted it for years. Was taught — and thoroughly believed — that attending church is about a relationship with God, not signing on the dotted line, and church membership was a tool of Satan to lull unbelievers into a false sense of security brought about by belonging to a social club. But things have changed. I’ve changed. I’ve reached a point where I really want to commit to something bigger than myself. I need guidance and structure and spiritual leadership, and I’m not arrogant enough to think that I can do it alone. I want to be a part of a community. Not just a community, like my street community or the museum committee community, but a community based on something bigger than me.

And my completely shallow self really, REALLY loves the inside of the church… it’s absolutely, stunningly beautiful. That’s the Mama in me… I just couldn’t join a church that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing.

So Bobby and I are going to sit down with the pastor next week, and talk about what church membership means. I’ve never been a member of a church, so it should be interesting.

Part of me worries that I’m being rash… after all, I’ve only been doing this church thing for a few months. Am I ready to commit? Should I wait a few more months and make sure I still like this church? Should we try a few more churches just to confirm? But I’m just so tired of feeling like I’m in limbo. And anyway, we’re just talking about joining… we’re not actually taking the plunge just yet.

Sometimes I really do look around and wonder how I got here. The t-shirts say that life is good. I’m more of the opinion that life is just plain weird.

And this is totally unrelated to anything, but I’d now like to share a picture of my favorite front-yard tree (I have a favorite back-yard tree, too, that’s not pictured). Isn’t it lovely?

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