Last weekend I did something that I haven't done in a very, very long time. I attended a Sunday church service. While I am a believer and supporter of celebrating your spirituality and religious aspirations, I am more on the side of the questioner. I am still trying to find an all over theology that satiates not only the spiritual side of me, but the humanitarian and practical one as well. For that reason, I do not regularly attend a singular church (though people who have found their niche in one have nothing but my praise). However, after being invited to witness a gorgeous baptism of Jay's cousin's sons - we were more than happy to find ourselves seated against the rows of oak benches amongst people looking for some deep affirmations to start their week.
^Walking to the Vatican (see it back there?) in Rome, Italy, 2013.
We arose to a chirpy, sunny morning in the east bay and suited-up in ties and long spring dresses as we walked through Berkeley, California, to find the church. The familiarity of sitting in a Sunday service was comforting to me and I found myself calm as I nestled into the pews and made note of all the different families there to feed their own spiritual hunger on such a lovely day. The church choir was a sight for sore ears :) and the baptism of Jay's cousin's fam was really special. We cooed over their vows, clapped for them as they joined the church and found ourselves laughing when one of the little boys, shortly after breaking free from his starring role at the altar, started running laps around the entire congregation. It was a nice morning.
One that was made even nicer as I listened to the pastor talk. He had a wonderful message that day about how important 'community' is. And especially how community can work together to recognize and help heal inevitable suffering that we all face. He summarized this point by saying that "life is a team sport" and that we need to recognize who is on our team, who is in our community and are we treating them as we should?
I loved that quote and as I marinated on it for the rest of the day, I could only think of my dad.
^Always gave me a pole rather than a fish.
My dad is basically the only person who leaves voicemails on my phone. While most people stick to texting or at least (correctly) assuming the image of a missed call is enough to warrant a call back, my dad still sticks with the old fashioned method and it drives me nuts. Mainly because he NEVER leaves a voicemail actually telling me why he needs to talk to me. They are just always "Caitie, it's dad. Hey! Call me." So I never have any indication if I am expected to call back right away or later this weekend when I have more time... or what? And they clog up my phone voicemail. And then he will start to email me saying that my voicemail is full. And I will think "yes, because of you leaving me 50 of the same messages that say nothing ...". And on and on it goes. It bugs me pretty regularly.
But after I heard the pastor saying "life is a team sport" and asked if the people on our team are being treated appropriately after just having the "you leave me too many voicemails that say nothing" talk with my dad the day prior, I realized that I needed to give it up. Every issue I had with the voicemail, I needed to let go.
My dad is always on my team. When I moved back home right after graduating college, I bemoaned him for having the audacity to make me pay rent while I job hunted. After I finally landed a job months later, he gave me the envelope with all the money back to use as an example of how easy it was to save money if I just put it some aside each month. He was on my team right then. When I looked up at the bleachers at every high school basketball game that was right after school and saw my dad, who had rearranged work to get to the suburbs from his downtown job to see me play, he was on my team. When he helped me apply for my first "real" job which lead to the career I have now, he was on my team. When he helped me move the last 4 times by showing up with a smile on his face and his work gloves on, he was on my team. When he steadied me as I walked down the aisle to the altar, he was on my team. My dad is always on my team. Who cares if he leaves me so many voicemails? The point is that I have a dad who calls me regularly and I should be so lucky to hear his voice so often.
Thinking of this all week lead to a deep appreciation for Sunday and the way in which a common thread of humanity is at the root of spirituality. No matter what you believe or how you view the world, you can always sit and listen to someone's message of how they strive to be a better person in their own life, and take a piece of that for yourself. After all, we are all part of this worldly community.
Maybe I'll leave my dad a long voicemail about that.