« Going to Church »

Here is how I got to and from church today. The church is about 15 miles away in La Mesa and I didn't want to drive, since that is all I do all week anyway. I was trying to improve upon a similar trip back in January, but planned to use my bike and trolley. The universe had other plans for me.

  1. At about 8:30 I went for my bike in the garage and pumped up the tires. One of the valve stems broke clean off, so that sort of put the kibbosh on the ridable portion of my journey to the trolley station and then from the station to the church.
  2. Then I saw that I would have time to catch the bus that is about a block from my house, and recalled that on this same trip several months ago, the bus would leave about 8:40. I hustled on down the street but waited just a few minutes for a bus that seemed to have come and gone already.
  3. The bus stop was at a gas station so I asked some middle aged fellow if he could give me a lift to the Morena trolley station, and he did. That was his good deed for the day. I guess he saw no fault with helping a guy get to church, while I was carrying a well-thumbed 45 year old copy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Ethics. (The thumbing was from the previous owner, Lee Van Ham.)
  4. The trolley arrived shortly after this Steve fellow dropped me off. A few minutes more delay would have thrown this trip off, or pressed me to drive my truck. I was about to get on the trolley when I decided to get a bit resourceful at the end of the journey so I called Curtis, the pastor emeritus of the church and with whom I have played in a fellowship band. He agreed to pick me up at the station, though I wasn't certain how to describe the best meeting place. I sort of regretted waiting and not calling him back, particularly since he is rather older (70 something) and I didn't have a cell number of his and I didn't even remember what he was driving anyway!
  5. The ride was maybe a half hour or so, and I got a few pages of reading done.
  6. I walked to the intersection where we talked about and waited. Finally I saw Curtis and his wife but they turned and went to one end of the trolley complex and emerged a short while later after realizing that wasn't going to help. Then they drove down right past me, even stopping at the light in front of me, but with a car blocking our line of sight, they went with the green light all the way to the other end of the trolley complex, and then I started wondering if maybe they'd give up and drive to church, up the hill, about 3/4 mile away. It was now about 9:45. Fortunately, I decided to huff it on down the road—a rather long block—and was almost in front of them before they saw me, but I guess they knew to wait there. I was out of breath when I got in but told them the story thus far—already I was joking that it "took a village" to pull this one off.
  7. The service was great, and the theme was some of the best parables—the yeast, the pearl, the mustard seed. The people were great and even after several months of not attending that church, I was greeted as if it was only a week ago we had last seen each other. (My approach to churchgoing is quite in-the-moment now and the gas prices have influenced me of late, though really it depends more on how Sunday fits into my weekly work schedule and the energy left after all that effort.) Oftentimes, I do lunch with a group of folks who have been nice enough to include me in their crew, so today was no exception, and the ride to the restaurant and subsequently to the trolley station was forthcoming for the asking. They are a chatty bunch and know each other from a church they had to close up, and stuck together even as they migrated to this new church. There are many other friends they talk about—people whom I don't know—but everyone has a good time trading notes on how life is, and it adds a nice community dimension to my experience at the church. But the lunches go a bit long, particularly on a couple occasions when I was beholden to them for a ride. After lunch, one of the folks pulled out a big tray of brownies and we munched on that in the parking lot.
  8. I got to the trolley. It was not very far from the restaurant, but on a hot and humid day like today, it was far enough, and the ride was welcome. At about 2:40 I was on my way. I called Kelli and asked for a ride back home from the station, but by the end, decided I'd walk and maybe surprise Kelli.
  9. So I walked, and without even thinking of the huge brownie I had already, I stopped in at the donut shop and got a couple fat and sugar pills and munched on the way back. Ultimately, all this took long enough that Kelli called and begged to know where I was, and I told her I was just a few blocks away. So much for the surprise. It was hot out and I sort of wish I had just taken the ride home but was pleased with my seat-of-the-pants trip to church today, and thought better of it, and kept walking.

Finally I got home, took a shower and with the sugar crash on its way, I took a nice three hour nap on my newer couch, with the fan blowing across me. It was good. Then I was able to reflect on my meandering course to church and back. Sure, I could have driven, but today I got some exercise, met a stranger, used public transportation, carpooled with some friends, had some lunch, and got more exercise (while sabotaging it with donuts, d'oh!) and all in all had a good day. All this adventure was had for $5 in transportation which is slightly less than what it would take to drive my truck, and also for the cost of lunch and poison pills.

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