Friday, September 08, 2006

In Search of .... a Church

In September of 2001 we moved to Kingston, NY. It was a transfer for my husband that we could not pass up because it came with a substantial pay raise. I still remember that morning on the 11th. I was in the hotel room with my Monica, 4 years old at the time (we had not yet found an apartment) and my soon to be mother in law called and told me to turn on the TV. (It was the only time she ever told me she loved me. Tragedy makes you say crazy things I guess.)

I took it all in for a little while and turned it off. I really couldn't handle it and we had an appointment to look at an apartment that day. As we were walking out a man in his car rolled down the window and stopped to tell the apartment manager that he was going to get his children out of school. That the towers fell. We were being attacked.

Everyone dealt with this day differently. I personally had so many emotions rolling through my body, fear, anger, confusion, pride, and sadness to name a few. This all happened less than an hour drive from where I was. I did not know how I was going to get through it. I was glued to the TV for the next few weeks. Watching the people work tirelessly in hopes of finding a sign of life among the debris. It was like a tragic movie on a loop that I could not stop watching day after day.

I don't think I knew anyone personally that lost their life that day but I do know a lot of people who knew people in that building. I did have a friend who was fired from his job in the towers the previous week. He answered his telephone for a week by saying "I'm alive!"

A few life changing things happened over the next few months.

My husband and I got married October 16, 2001. I woke up that morning, rolled over and this is the way the conversation went.

Me: Let's get married today.
Him: Let's wait until next Wednesday. I have another day off then.
Me: No way. What makes you think I'm gonna fall for that?
Him: Well, you fell for it the last seven years!

We got up. Called the Justice of the Peace and got married.

I drove past a church in town a lot.

Everytime I drove by it was like the building was calling my name. I hadn't been to church in many years. A lot of people came away from September 11th with the clear thought that they had to go back to church. I didn't. It took me until the end of December to realize that that is what I needed to do. It was the Sunday between Christmas and New Year's Day. I got my daughter dressed and we ventured to the church that had called my name so many times (now I know that it was God directing me where he wanted me to go).

There wasn't Sunday School that morning. I was going to walk back out the door because the service didn't start for an hour and fifteen minutes. A man named Harold, who is the building manager but I think he is the best greeter/evangelist I've ever met, did not let me walk back out that door. He talked to me and introduced me to others until the service was about to start. He knew, as did I, that if I left, I probably wouldn't come back.

It was the beginning of my journey back to God. I grew in that church. I attended every class I could. I studied my Bible at home. I lead the Adult Sunday School for a while. I was blessed in that church. I grew in that church. I had a new family in that church.

I had to leave early in 2003, when we moved for my husbands career again. I still miss the people who showed me so much love. It broke my heart but I knew it's what I had to do.

Now I find myself moving yet one more time. I am again in search of a church. I can only hope that the one that I find is modeled like St. James United Methodist Church in Kingston, NY.

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