It was bittersweet at church today. The music was great, if I may say so myself seeing as how I select the songs and sing at least half of them. The energy in the room was high and everyone was singing and clapping. It was my first Sunday back since I had Pace and I really enjoyed myself.
BUT…it was also my sister’s last Sunday with us. In case you don’t know, my sister Valarie is our pastor. Or was. She is moving to another church…in another town, which saddens me for two different reasons: (1) I’m losing my pastor, and (2) I’m being separated from my sister who has lived just a block away from me for the last several years. Pat and I will now be without any family in this big city.
Despite the closeness of our homes, Val and I could go a month or more without seeing each other due to the demands of our jobs and family schedules. Plus, we both really appreciate quiet moments alone – totally alone. No kids. No husbands. Just the quiet, and a great book. It wasn’t until I started singing in the band at church and taking more of a leadership role in the music that we saw each other every week and sometimes had several conversations as I worked to find songs to coincide with her sermon. We developed a partnership through the church and a new type of closeness.
I’ve been a member of a couple different churches with Valarie as pastor. It was always sad when she left for her next assignment and I stayed behind for a while, but things went back to normal fairly quickly. This time feels different, though. For one thing, I won’t follow my sister to her next stop. Pat and I have found a home in this church. An extended family, actually. We are exactly where we want to be.
For another, the last couple of years have been a special time in my spiritual life. I feel I’ve grown and discovered my own relationship with God, not the one I always felt I should have, and Val has been with me, and talked me through this exploration. I feel honored to have shared this time with my sister.
Today Val preached on a scripture from 2 Samuel, chapter 6, which includes, “David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the Lord with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.” She concluded by thanking the congregation for dancing with her and asked us to keep on dancing now that she’s gone.
And that’s what we’ll do, but it will be a little different. We’ll probably move to a slightly different beat with our new pastor, but I will continue to explore my spirituality through music, still reaching for the phone for a little guidance, though it will be long distance now.
And I’ll keep dancing.
I hope Val’s new church dances with her.