Remembering Summer and Leaving GA

As I was driving into the city yesterday, I had this moment of … what’s the word? nostalgia, maybe?  I had just finished listening to the book I’d been “reading” on the drive to and from work all week and had turned off the radio so I could think through the end and back to the beginnings of the book, letting the themes rush over me.  I was in the fast lane, having just passed someone, and was in a reflective mode so probably wasn’t driving as fast as I could.  I checked my rearview mirror and saw a car approaching fast behind me.  I moved back out of the fast lane and looked at the car as it truly sped by me.

There were two young women in the front seats, the window were down, their hair was blowing about them and they were gone. And I remembered summer.

I remembered summer as a young woman, out of college, on my way to work, in high heels and panty hose and shoulder-padded suits in a fast car zipping by old women in reflective moods.

I remembered summer as a teen ager, with long stretches of time in front of me and nothing to do and both revelling in and hating the boredom of it all.

I remembered summer with young kids in tow, looking for others to drink coffee with as kids played in sand or water or both. I remembered that there is an actual photo of me pushing my kids in the swings that used to be in our side yard back when there were only two girls. Our side yard is next to a busy road and a photographer from the local paper (the one I would later write for) was out looking for pictures of people enjoying the finally-warm weather. And I am smiling, pushing my kids on the swing, remembering the games we used to play, the songs we used to sing in those endless hours of “‘wing me, Momma, ‘wing me.”

I remembered all this in the span of a minute, maybe less, as I hurtled away from the house that held those daughters, now old teenagers, still sleeping. I revelled in the maturity of those same daughters who worked together to clean a house so we could host a church retreat Wednesday night. Grateful for all they are doing to make life easier for all of us as I work more hours than I have in what feels like centuries even as I learn that the reasons I’m so tired these days have only a little to do with the hours–that my body is working against me right now, but not in a life-threatening way. “Life-style threatening” is how I put it to my husband.  But there is a new specialist to find and see who will help determine what, exactly, I need to change and why. And in the midst of that I realize how much I miss my daughters. How much we are all missing, together, this summer.

And all this goes through my head and heart in a manner of seconds. So grateful. So scared. So grieved. It all goes hand in hand at times.

This is, I suppose, why this blog has been so empty lately. The urge to write never left, but the draws on my energy are rightly placed elsewhere at the moment.

I had a diatribe to write about the last General Assembly of the UUA, but have decided that this is something I’ve wasted too much energy on already. With limited stores, I’m going back to spirit, going back to feed the wolf that has been neglected, the one who has led me before and will lead me again. Polity and process keep us strong and I am glad that there are people who find their energy in this struggle.  I, too, have. But today, the sun is now shining, there are weeds to pull and floors to scrub and a pile of stuff that has not been attended to in I gasp to think how long. The world will move on with or without our communal faith; but I will not move on one inch without attention to my own right now.  And I think that last can be read in many different ways.

Ours is a strong faith, strong exactly because of the internal dialog we have about, well, everything. But that also makes it seem tenuous and uncertain, fragile even. There are days when I don’t want to argue. I just want to pick up a book by Forrest Church and feel connected, understood, spiritually caressed. There are days when I just want to sit in the sun and be still and let the angst fall into the grass to be carried away by ants and earthworms. So, here’s the thesis of my (mostly) unwritten diatribe: we can argue about words and meanings for centuries, but at some point, our faith calls us to act. That seems not possible in the collective and so it must be done by the individual. This is, my friends, in my opinion, the main reason why we have not and perhaps will not grow as a denomination.

I nearly quit my church over this (and this has less to do with denominational affiars and moer to do with my own congregations’ approach to same). Nearly quit the church and had a conversation with a young adult who felt this GA was more about not doing than doing, roadblocking. This is a youth who has strong ties denominationally and she, too, was wondering if this truly is the faith for her–the faith she has grown up in. This is not about who is president; this is about how we work together (but mostly, it felt, against each other).  There are layers that the smart, educated people I know would say “need to be unpacked.”

Right now, this morning, I’m not sure I have the desire to unpack one more thing, so I’m going to leave all that to y’all. Because I remember summer, and it is waiting for me.

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About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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7 Responses to Remembering Summer and Leaving GA

  1. mskitty says:

    Hi, Momma, I’ve been out of the loop for days and missed this post. It sounds like GA wasn’t itself this time, perhaps due to the quarrel about the restatement of principles. I’m sorry it wasn’t much fun for you but I’m with Ogre—-sometimes things have to fall apart before they can come back together in a new way.

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  2. jules says:

    Several years ago when I was still married to my second wife and we had just started attending our UU church, she said, “these people are really smart and have some amazing interesting things to say, discuss and talk about… but what do they do.”

    She grew up a Jehovah’s Witness and didn’t quite get the sit-around-and-debate-minutia when she felt like getting out and acting on what God wants us to do is the real meat of spirituality.

    Shortly after she and I divorced and she stopped attending. I’m not saying that’s the reason… I’m just sayin’.

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  3. kari says:

    Oh thanks for the lovely post. I’m not much of a polity wonk, but sure felt that rent in our community at GA this year. (and it was my son in the pink shirt who called for all the insanity to stop and to just finally vote–tough)

    I think I believe that who we really are happens in those lovely moments at GA where people from all over the country wind up having dinner together because the table seats 8 and the wait is long and we find that after all we are really one.

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  4. ogre says:

    Just an observation from my own experience from years past…

    Feeling roadblocked and so forth is frequently a late stage before the breakthrough.

    Which is nice, but doesn’t change that wonderful sensation of beating your head on a brick wall.

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