It feels like it’s been eons in writing days since I’ve posted, but you have to know that it’s hard for me to come up with something to write ABOUT. My life is currently very small, and I like it that way. I don’t get into any trouble. Prianka and Dan are off traveling… well, that’s not exactly true. Prianka is off traveling, and Lindsay is, too (I think… last time I saw a picture of her, she was in Costa Rica). Dan is in Vermont at a Russian language immersion camp, and won’t be back for over a month. I have tentative plans to get together with Ingrid and Leslie #1, but we haven’t firmed up dates yet. However, Lindsay will come back soon and it is possible that she will be in Portland the same week I am (fingers crossed).
Before I finish this entry, though, I thought I’d post a picture of myself that I took with my web cam. The reasons are twofold. The first is to prove that the web cam on my computer is not as shitty as I thought it was. The second is that I haven’t taken a profile picture in a long time, just using old ones because I’m not as wrinkly (I’ll be 40 on Sept. 10th). In short, this is what I actually look like this year. I’m one of those lesbians that looks like a ten-year-old (maybe 15) boy until you get close enough to see that I’m going grey and I have bags under my eyes, and wrinkles that thankfully go up, because I got them from laughing so hard. In this picture, you can also tell that I actually own boobs. That’s a rarity, because the more I dress like a boy, the less I get hassled by them. It’s so odd to be a lesbian in the world these days, because if men think you’re “one of the boys,” they won’t even bother coming up to you. And yet, flirting with boys is one of my specialties, as long as it doesn’t go anywhere. Attention is attention, and their humor is different than women’s. Not better or worse, just different. But if I make the effort to look all girly and cute, it’s way more male attention than I ever bargain for. Thus, the strangeness. Also, when I’m “all nellied out,” men seem to think I’m hitting on them even when I’m just being nice, polite, and Southern… which is not always, but often, all the same thing.
Thus the conundrum of what to wear to Bryn’s wedding. I’ve never been an officiant before, although I have “worn it like I stole it” in one memorable worship service, and even though I am a Dudeist Priest, I doubt Bryn and Corey want me to do their wedding in a bathrobe and jelly sandals (well, I haven’t asked…. maybe they do). Believe me when I say that I’m going to be good at this. I have done just enough worship services to have confidence that this wedding WILL go off with a hitch (see what I did there?). For the rest of my life, no matter how many weddings I do (Dudeist or UCC), I’ll always be able to say that my best friend’s was the first. She says she already knew that… asking me wasn’t a coincidence. I told her I already knew that, because I could read her like a book. And it’s true. I had a feeling that was the case.
I believe in my talent because I was “trained” by the best. It’s not just having watched my dad all those years (although that helps, certainly). It’s having a UCC pastor that was OFTEN willing to hand over the pulpit to me, and not just that. Letting me do the whole service front to back, from bulletin to benediction. Throwing me into the fire was the best education ever, and I think the reason she did it was because she knew I was testing the waters for my own career, trusting in my past (it worked). The only thing I’ve ever wanted to prove to myself is that I am just as talented as my dad (it worked). Though preaching is my passion, there is nothing in the world like writing a call to worship and hearing the congregation read them back to you in unison. It is seriously better than drugs, even caffeine.
The thing I’ve got to work on is refining my style. There’s nothing like manuscripting a sermon and flipping two pages at once and not realizing it…. and yes, I’ve done it. I also fell down the stairs to the pulpit after one of my sermons, and that was even more memorable than anything I’ve ever said…. both to me and the 300 people watching.
I also really love doing children’s sermons. One Sunday I pulled out a map and asked the kids how many different ways there were to get from Portland to DC. They traced their fingers along the highways and said there were so many they couldn’t count them all. I said “that’s how many ways there are to get to God.” The light bulb smiles that followed were priceless.
At Bridgeport, the pastor does not usually give what we used to call “the offering pitch.” It’s a member of the congregation who generally tells a story about how much the church has meant to them. I told the story of Jamie Brabham, an usher at our church in Naples, who, if he thought you didn’t give enough money, would pass the plate down again. As people howled, I said, “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” And that’s when I realized I didn’t have one damn dollar on me. #dumbassattack
This reminds me of my favorite Lindsay story. I’d just gotten my driver’s license, and it was my job to shuttle her back and forth to church. One Sunday she was the one who put money in the plate, and then leaned over to me and whispered, “can we go to Subway for lunch?” When I nodded yes, she said, “but you have to pay for lunch because I paid for church.” Dear Jesus did I have trouble keeping it together after that.
That was the year my father was pastor of Christ United Methodist in Sugar Land, where it would be remiss of me not to celebrate Lahonda Sharp’s retirement after 33 years. Lahonda was my choir director, as well as my mother’s. Though she and my mother got along famously, what I really remember about that time in my life is the comedic routines that exist between a choir director and a pastor. My dad and Lahonda routinely cracked people up like Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. Bonus points if you get that reference, and the bonus is that you’re old.
I hope that by the time I’m ready for my own call, or ready to start my own church plant, that I have someone I can “shake and bake” with, too.
Now that my mom is gone, I have run out of ideas. But that’s ok. I will meet that man or woman someday. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t met them yet. One step at a time.
Starting with a wedding.