Monday, January 10, 2011

The cheese stands alone

Photo Credit
Many of the blogs that I read often speak of how beautiful their marriages are.  They speak about the love for their husbands and it just seems so perfect.  The perfect love, the perfect marriage, the perfect life.  Now I know that no one knows perfection (and the blog authors don't claim to).  But looking from the outside in, doesn't it sometimes seem that way?
I don't have the perfect love, but we have love.

I don't have the perfect marriage, but we're both working to make it a successful one.

We don't have the perfect life, but together we're trying to make the best of what we've been given.

I wish that I could blog about how great everything is and how pure and simple our life is right now, but that wouldn't be very honest.  And that is my whole point of 2011.  To blog with honesty.

Since my therapist meeting on Saturday, I've been doing a lot of thinking and trying to work things through in my mind.  I want to make things work for us and I'm not going to go down without a fight.  Even though that seems to be all that we do.

He agreed to go with me to Church ABC yesterday morning.  And despite Kinley doing her best to throw off our schedule and not make it, we did.  We pulled into the parking lot and questioned if we were in the right place.  But when seeing family after family walk through these doors, we realized that we were.  It sure didn't seem as big as we had thought once we were sitting in the parking lot.

We walked toward the entrance and were greeted with an outstretched hand.  That was followed by about four more before making it to the lobby of the church.  Feeling welcomed?  You betcha.  There was a family in the lobby that noticed that we were new (clueless) and kind of took us in...told us where to find the coffee and snacks.  The husband invited my husband to the Men's Night this coming Tuesday so that he could meet some other guys from the church (he won't go, but the invite was nice).  They talked to Kinley and she showed them her impressive trick of waving (backwards). 

From the ceiling hung the sign that told us that the nursery was just down the hall and with much support from my husband, we headed that way.  There were a few older ladies and a couple of high school aged girls sitting a the check in desk that immediately made us feel like old friends.  Kinley went right to them, they asked a few questions, we filled out a few papers and were given our claim ticket.  That was kind of strange.  A claim ticket?  For my child?  It's for safety.

They then pointed us toward the one way window where we could watch her but she wouldn't see us.  And we watched her explore.  She was in love with all of the new toys and new environment.  My husband took me by the hand and walked me away.  I wanted to just stand and watch her.  Being there for worship was completely forgotten.

We walked back towards the lobby and were welcomed again by several other parishioners.  We made our way into the sanctuary and found seats off to the side in the back.  More like observers than participants, really.  But that is why we were there.  The room is a gym--or I guess you would call it multi-purpose.  A wood floor, basketball hoops were drawn up toward the ceiling to be out of the way...  very much unlike a Catholic church.  There was a band set-up on stage in front.  Two huge screens hung from the ceiling displaying a PowerPoint presentation "advertising" their upcoming events:  Men's Night on Tuesday, a Dave Ramsey financial course on Wednesday, etc.  I was feeling excited but a little worried about how uncomfortable my husband was sitting next to me.  He agreed to go with me, but he didn't agree to like it.  So I guess I sat there (pretty much the whole service) waiting to hear the "I hated it" speech.  I was afraid to enjoy myself too much knowing that it would most likely be my first and last visit.

The nursery workers told us that if we were needed for anything, they would flash our "claim number" onto the screen.  I think I had my eyes on that screen almost the whole time, waiting for "38" to flash.  It never did.

The music was so different, but I loved it.  It had a good beat to it.  I didn't sing.  Normally I sing, but this time I was observing and not participating.  I (of course) was people watching and saw many, many young families and couples.  There were all kinds of people!  I told my husband that they must be doing something right, at that church, because so many people found their way there.  Singles, couples, older, younger, professionals, students....that was cool.

I guess the biggest difference for me, was seeing the outward expression of faith during the songs.  And they sang a lot of songs.  The people worshipping with arms's not something I'm used to seeing.  Well, not used to seeing in "my" church.  I have no issues with that, whatsoever, but it's just not something I am used to.  It makes me wonder what they feel when they raise their hands....and why don't I feel that?  Is it just a difference in the way you were "taught" to worship?  Are they more secure in their faith?  Am I too worried what others would think of me to really express my faith?  What would my husband think if I were to sing and raise my hands?  I'm not to that point yet.  No where even close...and really...I don't think I'll ever be one that feels secure enough to outwardly display my worship like that.  Not that there is a single thing wrong with that. 

hmmmmm, am I back on that slippery slope of offending someone? 

Half way through the sermon, my husband put his hand on my leg.  And I put my hand on his.  Calling a truce?

The sermon was "A Vision For Generosity" and it was good.  Very good.  I think that the sermon may have bought me a ticket to return.  My husband enjoyed it and actually related to it and so did I.  The Pastor talked of finances and giving and generosity (obviously) and was good.

He asked these questions for us to reflect upon:
1.  Do you have a financial plan?  Does it have anything to do with God?
2.  Do you believe that your generosity is connected to your net worth?
3.  Do you know what it means to give sacrificially?
4.  Do your children see you as generous?
Now even if you aren't religious or church-going (to each his own) and even if my talk of religion on this blog is quickly turning you into a non-reader (please don't go!)....the questions are good to ask of yourself.  Or at least I found them to be good.

They have become so relevant to us because we are working so hard with our finances...with me going to school and adding the cost of daycare into our budget (which we never stick to) it's just going to be hard.  Very hard.

After church, we went to a diner close to our house and had a nice lunch.  It's one of those cheap but good home-cooked places.  And we didn't argue.  Not once.  It's been a long while since we've been able to say that.  Oh it felt good.  Kinley and daddy even shared ice cream together after dinner.  She didn't like how cold it made her tongue.  After every bite, she'd leave her tongue hanging out.  Have I mentioned that she is the only perfect part of my life?

Last night we went and got a membership at Costco.  My husband's company pays for it, so why not?  We got there late (thanks to Kinley's super long nap!) and only had about 15 minutes to shop before they closed.  We got what we needed:  milk, bread, chicken nuggets (Kinley loves them) and chicken breasts.  Then went to the self check out.  On the way home, my husband asked me "are we the only ones that struggle?"  It made me get that funny look on my face like "huh?".  "What do you mean?"  Then he said, "I don't know, it seems that everyone else just buys whatever they want, whenever they want, and we're stuck only buying what we need instead of what we want.  It's not fair."  And he's right.  It does seem that way sometimes.  Just like with the "perfect" lives and perfect marriages that I read about.  It seems like *everyone* else but us has it figured out.

Are we in the majority or the minority? 

We decided to register for the Dave Ramsey class at Church ABC.  I think that it will help us feel less controlled by our budget and feel more in control.  It's time to turn the tables.  It's just another baby step in figuring this whole thing out, together. And I think that just maybe, you'll find us back at Church ABC next Sunday.


Summer said...

I got chills and tears reading your blog today (have I ever told you that I'm over-emotional!). I love that you shared your experience at Church ABC and you will be trying it again. I feel the same way Richie does. I feel like I work so hard, day in and day out, for what?! I don't get to splurge at the mall or even buy the name brand stuff and question every purchase we make. It's not fair, but I guess it will be that way for now. Dangit! Someday. . . someday. . . that's what gets me through for the time-being.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. If you're a practicing Catholic, Church ABC is not the right thing to do, and both of you know it. Yeah, it may have been all sweet and all, but is that really a Catholic Church...NO. Stick to what both of you know is right, and that is a Catholic Church, practicing the Catholic Faith. Don't let anyone that isn't Catholic sway you in another direction...regardless of what they say or you hear from them.

As for struggling out there, we are all there with you...even though you see or hear things differently. Personally, my family we purchase what we need, when we need it. We save for trips/vacations, and sometimes struggle to pay that off when we return, but we get by.

amygmerek said...

I can totally relate! I often wonder what secret other couples have because my husband and I have to really work on our marriage. And money...ugh! We are constantly playing catch up and its hard. REALLY hard. Especially since I want our little guy to have all he deserves (and more)!!

Susan said...

this is to anonymous...who is to say that the catholic church is "What's right!!". Whatever happened to believing the in fundamentals versus the denomination. Yes, there are a ton of differences between Catholicism and Church ABC. Still, let me just say it is the belief in Jesus and living a moral life that is going to get you into heaven....not just because you are stamped "CATHOLIC". Joy, you need to go wherever you feel at home.

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