I read on a blog today about a small New England town where a historic church--the classic clapboard with white steeple--caught fire. Fortunately, it wasn't destroyed, and the church had recently had an endowment for updating, so it will be repaired. But the shock rippled through the town, even touching those who were not members of that church. Well, my church didn't burn, but it's suffered a similar shock. The senior minister resigned this week, under pressure, with dissension within the church. Since he resigned, there's been an enormous outpouring of love and support for him. I haven't been going to church much lately--I hate to go alone, which is a weak excuse--but I liked him, and I particularly liked his "Wednesday Wanderings," an email column he sent to all church members. I am no authority on what goes on in that church, and I know when in his resignation speech at a large congregational meeting he said, "This church has problems it has to face," it was about the only thing he could say. But I think it's true. Our church--long established, with a large gray-headed poulation, is used to doing things one way and resists change. Tim Carson brought some changes that were not easily accepted. It's like a divorce--blame can never be put on one side or another. Tim also made some unwise--untactful?--judgments, but I'm not sure he's been fairly treated at all. And I much admire him for resigning in person in front of the congregation--I'd sure have written a letter. And he appeared at a reception in his honor Sunday night--his wife just couldn't face it--and they will still lead a church trip to England this month. I don't know why churches--and hospitals and universities--do this to themselves, but there is always so much division. It's particularly painful in a Christian Church where we preach love. I grieve tonight for the Carsons and for my church.
If I'm worried about not being occupied in retirement, I should take heart from today. I had lunch with Fred, my mentor, and we had a lively discussion about books and the like, barely got home and Jeannie called, ready to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond, so I got desperately needed new rugs for the bathroom. Then when I came home there was an endless stream of e-mails, bills to pay, stuff to do. Finally got to my nap at 4:30. Now it's 9:30 and I have yet to pick up the book I'm reading--okay, turn on the Kindle. I've checked Facebook and the blogs I follow and written this blog post and talked on the phone--and where does the time go?
I did widen my circle today, walking half a block to work because they'd cordoned off our parking lot to restripe it, then walking across the empty parking lot and across the street with Fred without holding on (except for curbs), going with Jeannie without holding on in the parking lot, and walking down the sidewalk tonight to meet and visit witha neighbor--who wanted to know what I thought about our church turmoil. That's what I have to do--a little bit at a time.
I'm about to ordered a panic device that I can use if I fall--it calls five people, so I'll choose Jordan and Christian, because they're here in town and have keys to the house, my neighbor Susan who is home a lot and has a key, Jeannie (I'll have to give her a key) and 911. I emailed the kids about it and they have had a field day on the email laughing about the senile things I've already done and applying to me the things my mom did after she went downhill. Still, they think it's a good idea. My friend Fran just got one and has been hounding me to do it. Since I fell a couple of times in the backyard, I really do think it's a good idea. And no, it doesn't make me feel old--just reminds me that I live alone.