And it means ALWAYS having to say you’re sorry, Love Story notwithstanding (ask my husband, LOL!). I’m going to quickly update here because it’s Sunday and I have fambly stuff to do. But I need to get this off my chest. As anyone knows who has read this blog, a very big part of my life in the last three and a half years has been my church. When I started attending St. John’s in 2003 and joined the church in May of 2004, I never anticipated the enormity of the impact this faith community would have on me physically, spiritually and emotionally. Most of the people I “hung out” with were at first those in the choir. Our choir is a terrific group. We have fun together and really enjoy each other’s company. We do things outside of choir for fun. We share good times and loss. In short, choir is like a “mini me” for the church, LOL. Nancy, our music director/organist/choirmaster is wonderful. Not only an excellent musician, but a good friend. She and her husband, Rennie, are a close couple. He, a retired scientist, politically brilliant and involves himself in genealogical research and agricultural pursuits; and she a masterful musician with the energy level of a toddler, make a great pair. There are others in the choir I could also tell you about. Moving from section to section: In the altos, there’s Mary S., a widow, retired librarian, who keeps the music organized and has the sweetest disposition of anyone I know (she also likes my husband, so how could I dislike her?); Susan F., who teaches ESOL students, is married to Russ and has 2 boys and who is also in EfM with me, plays clarinet in a ragtime band in her “spare” time; Lorna K., married to bass Dwight, a high school social studies teacher, has the world’s best shoe collection, a beautiful voice and who, when I was out of the hospital last summer, offered to walk with me to get my legs working again, Sally L., recently divorced, but surviving and with the sickest craziest sense of humor and a voice to die for; sweet lovely Frances K., an engineer with MS who is desperately trying to have a baby and is losing hope as time goes by, yet is so kind to everyone around her – and she has perfect pitch:); Mimi B, married to fellow tenor and EfM’r Charlie, is a computer specialist and choir treasurer; Virginia W., a retired teacher with a biting wit who cares for her ailing relatives without complaint; Ann M., married to bass Bob, our parish nurse and who always gets me in trouble when we sit together making dirty jokes:); Peggy B, married to bass David, another retired teacher who is enjoying her new grandbabies; Molly K., who is not with us now as she completes her PhD.
Then the sopranos: Bonny D., a music teacher taking time to be sure her daughter turns out right (and who has my undying respect for that!); Diane L., a lady with the sweetest of voices; who is trying to renegotiate her life after separating from her husband; Donna H., married to bass Tom, another voice like an angel, is a librarian for a world-famous medical school – can appear stern at times on the outside, but is in reality a wild woman; Jane S., yet another retired teacher who gives her time as a CASA for a young child (gotta love that!); Jan S., who sings with us occasionally when she is not running her own show at the chapel of a nearby retirement community; Jean B. who has taken time away while her children are still young; Linda K-M., married to bass Bill M., whose kids went to school with mine; and who is just plain cool; Nancy M., secretary at a local Elementary School, who always knows the appropriate thing to say and also has a lovely voice; Rachel E., who just had her first baby and is on a break:); Stephanie C., whose adorable, whimsical daughter, Caroline is our choir mascot;
Tenors: Suzy D., a divorced mom who has had to overcome the loss of both her parents and a disability but maintains a wacky sense of humor; Barb M., a social worker who is working on an advanced degree, widowed and still grieving her loss; Alison C., a total hoot who defines the term “wild woman,” and who hides her MS sufferings well; Drew C., an MD researcher with the strongest voice in the choir and the gentlest disposition; Charlie B., (married to Mimi) who lives his life with integrity; Barry E., who should really be an alto at times, has a voice like an angel and the craziest sense of humor and does the NY Times crossword puzzle like tic-tac-toe; Mike M., another rabid Democrat who also plays bells; and me;
Basses: Bill M., married to Linda and inherited her 4 children, a musician who works as hard as anyone I know; Harry H., a retired priest, our prayer warrior, conscience and voice of reason; Bob M., married to Ann, music committee director and retired systems VP for McCormick and who loves wine about as much as I do;); Chris T., whose blog can be found here, who amazes me by his sheer ability to survive what he has survived with intelligence, grace, imagination (and Doug:)) and who also plays the bells; David B., married to Peggy B., so quiet but never far from his wife and family; Dwight K., married to Lorna, and also an educator, who very kindly sang tenor with me one Sunday when I was the only tenor who showed up on my first time and I thought I was going to be toast; Tom H., married to Donna, himself an organist at another church and who, together with Donna stayed with Nancy the entire night her Rennie was in an accident and almost died; Tom C., who with his wife, Ann, shared Thanksgiving at our home 2 years ago and despite this, still talks with me! and who also hooked me up with a marching band and, though retired in his 70s, still plays ice hockey like a pro!
If I’ve forgotten anyone, I’m sorry.
I don’t think there’s one uneducated or ignorant person in the bunch (well, at times I can be a moron, but that doesn’t count). We all appreciate good music and at the same time share our faith. I’ve come to care about these folks a great deal. Most of us are over 50 at least; yet when we get together, we always have fun and never seem old.
Of course, the problem with caring about people is you run the risk of loss. As one of our priests said in her Easter Vigil sermon, great joy often is accompanied by fear. Think about when you brought your first (or last for that matter) baby home from the hospital and realized all the awful things that could happen.
Well, today there were two kinds of loss: one the usual stuff that happens in parish life; the other a bit more troubling. As to the first, one of our priests, Doris J., has been called to be a rector in a church in a neighboring county. I know she’ll do well there, but she’ll be missed here. There was a terrific outpouring from everyone, which was wonderful and very emotional. I will miss Doris. She is a Southerner with a well balanced mixture of faith, humor and common sense and I know the church getting her will be blessed.
The second was that Rennie fell and will need surgery. Not in and of itself a big deal, but with his diabetes, it’s always scary. Nancy has had to deal with the capricious nature of this disease for forty plus years, but the reality of it is overwhelming for those of us who don’t really know what it’s like. I remember the dark feeling when John couldn’t walk without severe pain for weeks, but cannot imagine what it’s like to live with someone who at any time could go into a coma just because of a miscalculation on an insulin pump! I worry about my “little friends” (I think of them that way because, although mentally larger than life, they are both so petite, and whenever I’m around them I feel like Clifford, the Big Red Dog, LOL). So, I got Rennie a card – a funny one (can’t stand those schmaltzy things!) and will hope for the best.
When I got home from services this afternoon. John commented that the place must have been virtually empty (after all, this was the weekend after Easter). I told him the place was packed because we were all wishing Doris a Bon Voyage, Happy Trails, etc. John commented that St. John’s seems to be more about the people that what he was used to as a boy raised Catholic. After thinking about it a while, I guess he’s right. Perhaps not making it about the people is a good way to protect yourself from pain, but I think it also “protects” you from joy. As long as we recognize people for people and God for God, I think we’ll be OK:)
God bless Doris, God bless Rennie and Nancy, God bless my family and yours, and God bless you and me:)