Baby Step #2: UU

Still sore from yesterday's yoga. I don't get it--I've been jogging for almost 30 years, and I can bike seven miles straight up a mountain, but let me "engage my fingers" and "expand my chest" for an hour, never even breaking a sweat, and now I can barely walk.

So my next step toward changing my life (I know, you think I did something about my hair!) was church. We tried this a few years ago, when Lo was two. That was back when she didn't know the difference between a dress and a duck, when I could still put her in a skirt. So I'd strap on her maryjanes, and she'd look really cute face down on the carpet in the nursery, arms wrapped around my ankles. Didn't she know I was doing it for her? Her three siblings had held it against me that I'd offered them nothing in the form of spiritual guidance or community as they were growing up. And it had been hard for me to find a church I could tolerate, especially given my Top Ten List of Church Requirements:

1. Must be big enough that no one notices I'm not really singing.
2. Must not practice 'shake hands with your neighbor.'
3. No old man stationed at the door to hug you on the way in.
4. Female minister.
5. Minister must never use the word Hell.
6. No scary reenactments of the crucifiction.
7. No clowns.
8. Must not expect me to make vats of coleslaw.
9. No perverted youth choir director.
10. No culottes.

I'd finally found a church that met all the guidelines except for number one. It was small and quaint. The cemetery out front dwarfed the building (If I'd thought about it, 'no cemetery in the front yard' would have also been on the list). Number two was iffy, in that the size of the congregation made it difficult to avoid greeting your pewmates. Nevertheless, Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church was scarcely two miles from my house, which meant I could squeeze in one more cup of coffee and make fun of the brides in the Sunday paper before I had to leave. But the toddler Lo didn't appreciate my efforts.

Today, a big six-year-old dressed in camo shorts, tank, and wheelies, she went with me voluntarily--the ONLY one in the family who would (Thanks for NOTHING, George!). The place hadn't changed in four years and struck me as remarkably similar to the yoga studio, so's I caught myself counting as I breathed in-two-three-four. Today's sermon was on the heart, a mixture of science and health with a dose of inspiration via Dr. Seuss and Emily Dickinson (Don't get me started on her!). I'm not knocking the service. I enjoyed it. But I kept in the back of my mind the pithy running commentary Biggy would have offered had he accompanied me rather than going into work, complete with the toking gestures he'd have made in the car on the way home. He thinks they're all bisexual pothead interpretive dancers. At the end of the service, the adult and children's choirs joined to sing a piece that included a Zulu chant written in honor of Nelson Mandela, really beautiful, and I left with my heart full of love.

Less than an hour later, Biggy and I were out on our deck, having the kind of fight where one of you ends up with your toothbrush and underwear in a paper bag, threatening to leave.

Two steps back.

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