In my lifetime I have been allowed to be a part of three church communities that, if I know anything, I know I will always love.

The first, a United Methodist congregation in Tacoma, Washington, graced Timothy and me with treasured friendships and our wedding. Ah, the music in that space, Sanctus and Benedictus filling the rafters. What made it beautiful was the love of the people, the commitment to blessing anyone "that cometh in the name of the Lord."

The second, a certain church community I've referred to here, of no affiliation, not even a building to call its own, demonstrated for us an unwavering dedication to the search for truth, in humility, before God and the ancient writings known as Scripture. Oh, the diligence and care woven into each coming-together, the effort of thought and kindness in allowing dialog. Sometimes I have forgotten that in this manner the people carry out a love for one another that stretches far beyond the tiny community's borders.

The third is an Orthodox Christian parish. It is a treasure still foreign to me in several aspects, one I misunderstood pretty thoroughly at first. I have attempted to argue for its validity, and this has been natural, I guess, at least for me to do. Thanks to dear church people's examples in my past, I've sought to show love by portraying the blessing, diligence, and care I am finding. As someone has suggested to me, however, I can't really portray this; I simply must live it.

What a prospect, project, goal: to attempt to live in love and to bless. I'm not up to it. But with fervor I wish to enter into it. To enter communion and life. So I'll do what keeps coming to mind, as has through my lifetime in the three churches which gave me so much: I will continue to show up. To sing. To bow my heart. To request, "Lord have mercy." And to be grateful that He is good and the Lover of mankind.