The first service I ever attended at Highland wasn’t in this lovely sanctuary, but in a crowded room on the top floor. It was a Friday night in the summer of 2005. I was in awe of the members, the music, the minister, and the message! And, although I belonged to another church, I kept returning to that service, then to Sunday mornings until I felt a peaceful urgency to join Highland nine months later.
I was born in Rhinbeck, New York, a tiny town in the Hudson Valley. As an infant, I was baptized in a congregationalist church, whose members several centuries earlier would be call Puritans! My dad was transferred to Lexington in 1957 when they built the big IBM plant. A number of our rural neighbors attended Mt. Horeb, a tiny Presbyterian church on Iron Works Pike, so our family began an active membership there. I still remember my mom’s joy when she became a deacon, I believe only the second female to be ordained!
Through her efforts and research, my mom also helped me to get a scholarship to attend a Presbyterian college in Tennessee. There, at Maryville, I grew socially (I was a very quiet gal) and spiritually. One of my favorite classes was “Man’s Search for Meaning,” taught by a professor who would later teach at the seminary here.
In 1972, I moved to Louisville, for my first teaching job in Bullitt County. A few years later, I married a man who was raised as a strict Catholic. During our 25 years together, I grew in appreciation of the many peace and social justice issues embraced by the church.
My thirteen years at Highland have blessed me in ways I cannot enumerate! The Generations Bible Study Class is a wonderful and supportive group! My previous term as a deacon has challenged me to tackle even what makes me confused or uncomfortable. And the services and lessons have filled in my many broken places.
I will close by reading a first draft I wrote in March at the Women’s Retreat, so creatively lead by Carol Harston. It focuses on a personal struggle, but if I cannot share it with this church body, where can I share it? In re-reading it, I’m reminded of words by Richard Rohr: “We’re already in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.”
The storms have been infrequent but full of bluster and damage. Comfort has seemed elusive, but in retrospect, I know it was always there. Flowing from multiple springs. But, now, when loneliness creeps in, covering my shoulders like a ragged shawl, I can throw it off! I can play with Lucie, Davis, Sonia, and Nora. Their energy and joy renews me. I can link arms and voices with my friends. Their insights redirect me. I can serve the needy around me, for as I give, they see cracks of light. Their smiles restore me. Nd God’s direction restores me. I can push aside all my senses and be still. And in that stillness, I meet my God again. The path becomes less rocky. The landscape blooms. The wind clears the air; yesterday is gone. I have today. Wow!