Monthly Archives: June 2015


“Choose your Steeple” — Five for Fighting

On Saturday May 30, 2015, I was received into membership at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I chose my Steeple, my tribe, my folk. It was like coming home to place you’ve searched for all your life.

Two years ago Hannah asked me if I’d visit a church with her. She was researching background for a character she’s writing. I looked up the directions, worship time, and travel time. We set off that Sunday morning without a clue that this would be a game-changer.

I loved the architecture immediately. The stone, the windows, the red doors. It felt oddly similar to my childhood church home. (Except Simpson is Methodist, Brick, and no red doors) Not in a “Hey this is a lot like . . . .” way, but in a “Come in, welcome, rest” way.

The people. Oh my goodness, these people will love the socks right off of you. They are warm, caring, kind, engaging, with exceptional memories, and accepting. Conversation was easy, the liturgy was soul satisfying, and Eucharist was the culmination of a perfect morning.

I’ve never felt more at home in a church since Kelly and I packed up and left Evansville and the only church I’d known.

I spent the next 26 years attending a variety of churches: Methodist, Baptist, Methodist, Church of God, Baptist, Presbyterian, Chapel on Base, German Independent, Chapel on Base, Messianic, Methodist, Reformed Presbyterian, Presbyterian, and now finally and forever Episcopal.

I’ve spent two years reading, researching, and praying about whether I should make my ties to this place more permanent. I have no doubt at all that God has placed me in this building, with this tribe, with these folk. I can worship here fully. I can learn much from them and most of it has nothing to do with head smarts.


This morning on my bike ride I saw something that made me stop. It was a moment that would make a perfect picture, but I didn’t have my phone. I stopped and looked long and deep, trying to sear the image into my mind. I knew immediately that this moment held a lesson for me. A lesson I needed to remember. Not a lesson I needed to learn, just to remember, to appreciate, to call to mind more often.

The image was a farmer leading a young-ish cow down his driveway. He was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, knee boots, and a ball cap — John Deere, most likely. His right hand was gently resting on the cows shoulder and his left hand held a lead. The cow would stop, look around, turn to the farmer, and walk on a bit. It wasn’t in a hurry and neither was the man. I think I saw the man giving the cow little tidbits to encourage the forward motion, but I’m not sure. Mainly what entranced me was the peacefulness and gentleness of the moment.

Man and beast walking together, gently, peacefully, and slowly.

This world is full of hurry, harshness, cruelty, and hatred. But, there are many living quiet, simple, peaceful, gentle lives. I need to remember this when the news is ugly and hard to bear. I need to remember that quiet, simple, peaceful, and gentle are a choice. It’s a choice I need to make every single day with every single person I encounter.

I need to appreciate it in others and I need to acknowledge it in others too. So today I remember and appreciate:
*A childhood Sunday School teacher (and as it happens, my Aunt)
*My current priests (who encourage us to walk alongside and grow, but don’t use a bully pulpit)
*An old friend who brings out the best in me by appreciating the best in me.
*Sisters who are on the front lines of helping people be the best they can be on bikes, in healthcare, and in raising some pretty fantastic nephews!
*A husband who listens patiently to my wild ideas and only occasionally points out they won’t work.
*A daughter doing amazing work through her actions and her words
*A son who can’t wait to be bald like his PaPa, is generous beyond compare, and always strives to do the right thing
These are the helpers the Mr Rogers encouraged us to look for in troubling situations. These are the helpers that give me hope. And hope is the key. If we have hope, we can change the world — one person at a time, starting with “the man in the mirror” to borrow a phrase from Michael Jackson.