Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hunting and the War on Vermin

Over the years your bodies become walking autobiographies, telling friends and strangers alike of the minor and major stresses of your lives.--Marilyn Ferguson
It's funny how true that quote is: how you can look at someone, and, though you can't know everything, you can judge a book by it's cover. Working at my library, I've learned how to tell which people are smokers, drinkers, mechanics, yard workers, or from an office. You also learn very, very, VERY quickly who bathes and brushes their teeth. Faces and eyes tell you who's intelligent and joyful, who wants to learn, who is too tired, angry, or frightened to bother. It's not that our assessments are always correct, but appearances tell you a little something. I wonder what my appearance says . . . hmmmmm

I ask that because Chris and I have been trying to find our church fit, and, so far, people either don't see or don't fully know how to connect with us. Or maybe we have no idea how to connect. Probably a combination. Church hunting is so hard. It was hard for me in college, but once you found THE church, it was an ah-ha! moment. Still, in college, I knew it was a temporary set-up, so there was no need or pressure to really get to know people, to settle in. Chris has been church-hopping most of his life; before college, my family had a home church. Now, Chris and I are married, and finding our own home base is a struggle.

So far, we have attended three very different churches: Summit, Orlando Grace, and Grace Fellowship.
We attended Summit Sunday evenings after I graduated college (I would go Sunday mornings to Westwood with my family, then Summit with Chris) and for maybe a month after the wedding. We stopped attending because it was so large we didn't know how to meet people, no one seemed interested in meeting us, and because something about it just didn't feel quite right. I left a service one night in tears because of the service, not good tears, angry tears. Nothing was unBiblical, and we loved the pastor, there were just too many things that bothered us for personal reasons to justify staying.
Next we tried Orlando Grace. People were really friendly--it was nice to feel wanted and recognized. I joined a Bible study, and I liked all the women there, but I didn't feel any true conenction. They were all very nice, but I was so nervous everytime I spoke up that I felt my face turn bright, bright red, and I started stammering. So I didn't talk much, I watched and listened. I've become a very good silent observer. They wanted me to talk, so they would direct a question at me, now and again, I guess to make sure I was still alive. I forced myself to talk, and, like I said, burning and verbal bumbling. I began to realize that there were some big doctrinal beliefs we didn't share--I'm not a stickler for doctrine, and I don't care if we disagree. I feel like, sometimes, doctrine causes unnecessary division. I didn't want to cause division, but I realized that, if people discovered that I didn't completely doctrinally agree, there would be issues. We still like the church, and we may end up going back, I don't know. We only left because we received an invitation to another church.
Ryan and Julie, Chris's brother-in-law and sister, invited us to try their church, Grace Fellowship. We didn't intend to keep visiting. We really didn't expect to like it. We knew the worship would be too loud for Chris's hyper sensitive ears, but, at the same time, that's an issue with every church we've ever been to. We liked our first week there so much, and it was so nice to have someone to sit with, someone looking for you, that we went back for Easter. This was our third week there. So far, we like it, but we really like every church the first few times we visit. We may end up staying. We may end up leaving. I don't know. The pastor is really likeable, and passionate. It's not about how cool their church is--it's about what Jesus does through the church. He's doing a "Question and Answer" series, now, where you anonymously text him questions, and he answers them on the spot. Today, he asnwered questions on baptism, homosexuality, aliens, poetic vs literal, all sorts of things. Chris and I talked about it over lunch, and we both agreed with what he had to say--that it was in line with Scripture and our personal beliefs. He definitely had doctrine, but, at the same time, he left some things open, like infant baptism vs adult baptism. He basically said that there are some things the Bible is not clear on, and, in those cases, it's left up to the individual and the leading of the Spirit. He also admited to being a mix between Calvinism and Free Will, which is such a relief. What was nice is he openly told the congregation, "I don't know all the answers, I'm sorry, but I'll try my best."
I'm so ready for a church community that I get excited about every environment. Still, every place is filled with strangers, and strangers are scary. Chris and I aren't very good minglers. I'm working on it, but marching into a place where everyone knows someone but you is intimidating and awkward. At least at GF we have Ryan and Julie to fall back on. There's safety in numbers. We know God will bring the right church with the right church family at the right time. We just have to open, willing, and brave. Oh bravery, that thou would rear your lovely head . . .
So that's the update on the church hunt. Prayers would be appreciated :) Any tips?

Now for the vermin . . . Our ninja has fleas. Two days after we brought her home, we found her infested with squirming brown specks. We tried bathing her on a regular basis. Nope. Vaccuuming . . . no, not the cat -_- The girl at Petsmart thought we meant we vaccuumed the cat, not the carpet. So, finally, Chris broke down and decided we should treat her with Advantage. When we described the situation to the girl at the vet clinic, she said, "Well it sounds like you have an infestation."
Wait . . . WHAT?!
Doesn't an infestation mean they rule the roost? They're invading all aspects of our lives and privacy? Shouldn't the carpet be black with squirming vermin??? We never even see fleas. I have found a couple of bites on myself (literally no more than four in six months) but they're spots where the cat has been sitting in my lap or on my chest. Chris has never been bitten. I blame my bites only on the fact that fleas must find me as irresistable as mosquitoes (i.e. on one of our early dates, Chris and I sat outside for three hours at night--he was heading back to Idaho the next morning--and the next morning, he had no bites . . . I had 60 . . . no lie, I counted). I have no doubts that there are fleas out and about because we keep killing them, they make babies, and the babies hatch and keep travelling back to our tiny cat. But an infestation??? REALLY?!?!? So we bought five months worth of Advantage for the cat and organic pest-killing powder for the carpet. The flea medicine has been on Navi for an hour, and I have seen a couple of fleas leap to their doom, writhing on the bathroom tile like cockroaches in poison. DIE VILE BLOODSUCKERS!!! DIE!!!! Hopefully this ends the epidemic ones and for all. Poor kitty.
Tomorrow we get to treat her for worms.
Oh the joys of pet ownership. . .

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Good morning, Starshine! The Earth says, "Hello!"