This afternoon I met with my pastor about some very personal issues, and she remarked that I have grown a lot in the last few months. I last saw her in February when I was first starting my anxiety medicine. Half of my family was very ill, I had a very bad English 101 class, and my relationship was on the rocks. I had had about all I could take, and I couldn't get into the counseling center more than once a month. So I called my pastor. At that point in my life, I could hardly get through each day without crying. My pastor is a remarkable woman, and she let me sit in her office and cry. She always brings her dogs to the office, and the two of them sat quietly on the floor and nuzzled my feet. She recommended meditation and a daily reading of Psalm 139, both of which I was skeptical.
I had a very negative church experience before I discovered this church and chose this particular church because they so firmly preached that everyone is welcome. I highly recommend the United Church of Christ for that reason. I was just coming out when I first wandered into this church two years ago. I felt welcome and loved for exactly who I was from the first day I walked in there.
I have loved getting involved in all of the activities at church. My cat and I hosted Mary and Joseph in my apartment for Las Posadas on Monday. It was terribly exciting. The figures were huge, and I had to buckle them into the seats in my car before I could drive them safely to the next place. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as I did driving around with the Virgin Mary strapped into the front seat. I spent most of the drive on the phone with everyone who would listen.
Today and for the next week, my church is opening its doors to the homeless in this area. The city sold its shelter to a very conservative Christian group recently, and that group does not welcome everyone to their shelter. Approximately 60 percent of the homeless are mentally ill, but the mentally ill are not welcome at this shelter. Gays and lesbians are also not welcome. Neither are people who do not fit into the very narrow box that the shelter owners define as Christian. What exactly is Christian about leaving people out in the cold because they are different than you? It has been bitingly cold today, and I am glad that there is a place in the city where all are welcome. And I am glad that I have found that place, too.