Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Busy Weekend

We attended a family wedding up in Green Bay yesterday. On the way out of town, after the reception, we took a detour past Lambeau Field because, apparently, not doing so would be like going to Rome and skipping St. Peter's. I took a photo with my phone as we drove past, in the dark, and sent it to Patrick, who is now above responding to messages from his sister. That is to say, I don't know that he ever got it. (Did you, Patch? We went five minutes out of our way, just to get that picture. Some appreciation is warranted.)

Rather than drive back to Madison that night, we stayed with Evan's folks in Plymouth, and drove from there to Sussex for church this morning. First, I just have to say how thankful I am that we are able to attend church at Peace. Pr. Bender is great and the people there (not even counting the Gehlbachs, my adopted family) have been really welcoming and kind. The following should in no way be taken as a reflection on that church or the gifts we receive there each week. But there are no adequate words to describe how much I miss Redeemer and my church family. Seriously, I cried like a baby through the first two services away from Redeemer. The third week, Evan's parents were along and I managed to keep myself in check. This week, I didn't cry at the service, but ended up weeping my way through "Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart" at the church picnic. I probably would have cried through "O Lord We Praise Thee", but I was too distracted by the pace at which the organist was playing it--MUCH slower than Kantor Reuning-- and thought of my brothers straining to sing it faster. At one point, I looked up toward the chancel to make a face at one of them, but of course none of them were there. And at the church picnic, I had a perfectly good time and sat with Susan and Katie and made faces at Alia when I should have been paying attention to Pr. Suelflow....But it was almost disorienting to look out at a park pavilion full of church people and not see Osbuns or Lagemanns or Ridleys or anyone else I know.

But just so you know, I'm not complaining. Just reflecting.

We left before the church picnic was quite through to drive back to Madison in time to get ready for a Supply Chain Management center party. That sounds unbelievably awful, but it was a seriously good party, in the most sophisticated, grown-up way. Like Evan said as we walked back to our car afterwards, it was the sort of party that makes you feel like an adult. It had smart people, really good food, a nice selection of drinks, and it was held in a beautiful home, perfect for entertaining.

Tomorrow is my last day of freedom before I settle down and start working for my keep again. I have a whole list of things to get done--cleaning, laundry, picking up a bus pass--but I have this premonition that I will actually spend the whole day watching movies on Netflix. But I really don't know where that thought came from.


Hannah said...

It was very much a pleasure meeting you and Evan. :)

Susan said...

So I probably only made it worse when Pastor Suelflow was talking about long pastorates, and I asked about the length of Pastor Petersen's tenure. (I didn't realize you guys had arrived there only a year after he did.)

Bethany, this might sound dumb, ... but I am sorry for your loss. Leaving Redeemer is a huge deal. And no, of course!, you're not complaining to express how you miss to them. I think Peace is wonderful, but they're mine in the same way that Redeemer is yours. I look around that pavilion and see the Lemkes and the Fells and Martins and Petersens and Frerkings and so many others and am totally overwhelmed by the love I have for these people. And hey, they aren't even the ones who are my buddies. And you have the same love for the people at Redeemer and for the man who has been your blessed pastor for so long.

If you were a woman, beginning a long-term [and unwelcome] separation from her husband for business reasons, and you were attending a big party for your sister's wedding anniversary, it would be a bittersweet celebration for you. And that's what you had yesterday. I wish I could make it better, but I can't. All I can say is I understand. As much as I love the people at Emmaus and at Redeemer, as much as I love visiting those two congregations, as off-the-charts high is my regard for their pastors, they still aren't mine. I want to be here on Sunday, every Sunday, and I think it's probably normal and healthy for you to want the same. Don't be ashamed of mourning the daily/weekly loss of those people who have such a high place in your heart. And God grant you some measure of comfort through the Gospel that is preached here in this place, the same Gospel and the same hymns that you had at home -- the same Jesus.

Elephantschild said...

What Susan said. When I left West Africa, I lost a community like to what Redeemer is. And I did myself no favors by not labeling it as grief, weeping over it, and moving on, the sorrow eventually softening. Besides, you get to go back now and then.

Adriane said...

We can cry on Sundays together. It's cool.