Sunday, April 19th…: After two months of being officially retired, it has occurred to me that I need to establish some kind of face to face social network that will get me up and out of my room. After attending church with Daniel Rigney and his wife Alida in Houston in 2013, I decided to research Unitarian Universalist Churches in Los Angeles County. When it comes to UU congregations around LA, they are few and far between with a total of ten congregations serving a population of a bit less than ten million people. The closest one to where I live is in Long Beach, but this weekend the streets and freeways around that city are overwhelmed by people trying to get to the Long Beach Grand Prix, so yesterday afternoon I decided that I’d head the opposite direction and drive to Pasadena. There I had a choice of two congregations: The Throop UU Church which was founded in 1889…
or The Neighborhood U U Church which started out as a combined Presbyterian and Congregationalist Church in 1885.
It evolved into a Unitarian Church in the 1920’s and 30’s but retained its Congregationalist credentials into the 1950’s. By the 1970’s the congregation had sorted itself out into a Unitarian Universalist identity and moved to its current sanctuary next to the Gamble House.
Their convoluted history and the less pretentious architecture of the facility combined with the fact that they have a maze in their hand made garden to convince me that maybe these were my kind of people.
… Why I Passed on Church Today - It’s 4:00pm and I didn't make it to church today. I knew I was going to give it a pass by the time I went to bed Saturday night. The why of it has more to do with me than with any church or the people who might be part of any congregation. It has to do with how my mind works. I have to admit that I’m still emotionally hung over from my trip to Texas and I’m still aching from the disappointments that I experienced on that trek. Maybe I’m just a grumpy old man but this puts me into a defensive judgmental frame of mind which I really, really hate and that makes it much easier for me to hole up and avoid contact with anyone.
This isn’t social anxiety, paranoia or agoraphobia; because I’m not feeling particularly anxious or fearful. It’s much more about expectations, social posturing, and my personal impatience with “small talk” but more than that is the potential for disappointment. This is complicated by the question: Who the hell am I to judge anyone? Who indeed other than a neurotic A-hole who’s not fit company for man nor beast? So now I sit in front of my laptop with no one around to judge but me. Is this a new twist on low Self-esteem? Not really, because since I officially retired to one degree or another I exhibit 6 out of 10 characteristics:
It is just that I need a job and work to justify my existence? Nope, it was worse twenty years ago when I was working sixty hours a week and racking up 8 or 9 out of 10. Here’s the rub: When I anticipate the energy required to don the social mask and drive thirty miles on LA Freeways to spend a couple of hours with a bunch of do-gooder wanabes, it quickly becomes a prospect of diminishing returns.
All I really want to do is to sit down with a few relatively intelligent people, have a back and forth while we maybe play some cards or dominoes, listen to some decent music and enjoy some good food and beer. Is there a Church of the Inside Straight?
These last few years of living in limbo just sucks but I’ve lost my way and I can’t find my way home. I guess I’ll try to dig my way out of this hole again next week.
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