Sunday, March 25, 2007

borrowing faith

I've already covered to some extent my husband's rampant optimism in the face of the move. “We'll be together, and we'll be fine” was one of his mantras from the start. Apparently, he held the opinion that our little family could withstand realtors on illegal visits and a month of double rent and a 60-day termination of tenancy notice and all the rest. His faith worked me, eventually loosening a few of my anxieties, though I held fast to some of my favorites.

The place we've moved to is nice. Smaller, more expensive, and nice. One of the things that we like about it is that we sit tucked off the main street, behind a church parking lot. Maybe that's two things: the tucked away part, and the proximity to the church.

For the last six weeks the marquee out front of the church has said the same thing: “Sermon: God's Love.” I'm not a church person, but I can tell you that I love watching the women in their white square-heeled pumps and matching purses – full-hipped women shaking out the pleats of their flowered skirts as they walk. Flare right. Flare left. Boom, swing, boom, swing, as they traverse the hilly asphalted parking lot.

And there's the singing.

The day I met our current landlord, it was a Sunday afternoon. Standing out in the front yard of the house, my attention was divided between the details of a prospective rental and a congregation on fire. “Whoah!” I say indicating the raucous clapping and singing coming from under the steeple. “They mix it up, don't they?”

“Oh, don't worry,” my landlord said, worriedly waving his palms. “It's not like this all the time!”

“I love it!” I told him.

I met our neighbors, the Johnsons, while hauling boxes out of my trunk. “I'd love to have you over once we get settled,” I said to Mrs Johnson. “Whenever that is.”

“No one's going anywhere,” she said, with a hint of an accent I think is German. “No one goes anywhere so fast anymore. I'm 80 and my husband's 89.” A man in blue coveralls waves from the open garage door before continuing to hunt through a metal box for some kind of tool.

“It's quiet here,” she offers. “Very quiet, this neighborhood.” There's a small pause. “Except on Sundays. They get a little loud with their singing at the church.”

Three days after we've turned in the key to the old place, I turn my back on my living room piled in boxes and grab my gardening gloves. People are starting to arrive at the church. Boys in ties race each other to the door, girls play freeze tag around an SUV.

Then, from my squat beside the callas, I hear the sermon start – at first mostly muffled noise. I plant the snap dragons I bought – velvet red and lemon yellow stalks; I debate where to put the fig tree. The preacher is working himself into a fit of praise, washing over his congregation with waves of sound that appear to be questions. Mud cakes my jeans, and I unearth more earthworms. Slowly, the volume of the service rises until I can hear words and phrases clearly.

“The power,” he is saying. “The power! The power here...”

A woman's voice answers. “The power!”

Preacher: “The power here is love!”

Congregation: “The power!”

Preacher: “The power here is love!!”

Congregation: “The power here is love!!”

Preacher: “The power! The POWER!! The POWER here is LOVE!”

Then the singing starts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Isaac is TWO

The birthday hike --> Crowned King Baby -->


That's the title of one of Margaret Atwood's early novels. I haven't even started yet, and I digress -- go figure. So, my son turned two just four days and one hellish move after the last post. Allow me to put up a couple pictures...

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