Dan and Hannah – Halloween 2014

I was never much of a fan of dressing up for Halloween. At Halloween time, I was kind of a killjoy as a school teacher when I taught at Nevitt Elementary in Phoenix, AZ.  I never dressed up when the rest of the faculty got into it.

Halloween Unity

So it is no surprise that when the Revs Maryanne and Phil of Unity mention that the service before Halloween will be dress up, I decide, That’s fine. I’ll just skip that service.

And then providence in the form of Hannah steps in.  Gently, she says, I have a priest costume that you can wear, and I’ll go as a nun.  Her softness works.  Intimate and cozy, the Unity service typically draws 20 to 25 people each week.  It’s not like I’ll be in costume in front of hundreds.

Sister Dor May Voo and Father Frere Jacques

Sister Dor May Voo and Father Frere Jacques

Without the typical introvert’s nervousness, I come to the Unity service in the Lower Mill in Rollinsford, NH dressed as a priest, Frere Jacques.  Hannah is a nun, Dor May Voo.

Right off I notice the wide smiles.  I relax and feel acknowledged and appreciated; perhaps because I took the time to participate, to be part of the group.  I took the chance to be playful and silly in this community Hannah and I are just becoming a part of.  Truth be told, I was also channeling my inner Woody Allen, when he said, 90% of life is just showing up.

Halloween old dog

No surprise that by risking and being vulnerable, I feel more a part of the group; I feel like I belong. A oneness. Who would have thought stepping out of my comfort zone would feel so good?

So you lovers of canines, it’s never too late to teach this old dog new tricks.

Dan’s Day 22 of 29 Gifts – Surrogates

Seacoast Maine and New Hampshire

Seacoast Maine and New Hampshire

Our daughter Molly, her hubby Tip, and our grandson Owen live in Virginia.  Molly and Tip are local kids, having grown up on the Seacoast (southwestern Maine and the entire 13 mile seacoast of New Hampshire).  Virginia has the temperate winter climate that we Mainers can only dream of.  When it snows (they’ve had four inches in the Arlington, VA/DC area in the last two years), it melts the next day.  December snow in Maine rears its ugly head (okay I’m not a skier.) through March.

Dan and Hannah's picnic table

Dan and Hannah’s picnic table

The down side of living in Virginia is that it’s 550 miles away when big events happen.  Tip’s Aunt Pat died this past week.  The Virginia Family Rawding is unable to come so Hannah and I are their surrogates.  Woody Allen says that 90% of life is just showing up.  And showing up for calling hours in Portsmouth is what we do.

Day 10 90% quote

A popular woman, Aunt Pat has the line snaking out the front door of the funeral home in Portsmouth, NH even after two hours of visiting hours.  It’s important that Tip, his folks, and sister know that we are forever a part of their extended family.  Family shows up.  We hug, we meet Aunt Pat’s family, and just remind them by our mere presence “they are not alone.”

Day 22 you are not alone

Dan’s Day 10 of 29 Gifts – Woody Allen

This Saturday afternoon Hannah and I make a point of going to the open house to greet Rachel, the candidate for Associate Pastor at our church.  We are in full Woody Allen mode for the occasion.  90% of life is just showing up.

Day 10 90% quote

In the United Church of Christ, the congregation decides who to call as pastor.  Rachel is here for the weekend to meet various committees and individual church members; she’ll preach tomorrow.  Immediately after the service, church members will vote yeah or nay.  Showing up this afternoon to support her is my gift.

First Parish Church of York, Maine

First Parish Church of York, Maine

There in the church parlor, Hannah and I greet her.  She’s tall with a warm and welcoming smile.  I thank her for considering us, knowing it’s not just us deciding on her but she on us as well.  I got my fingers and toes crossed we vote as a congregation to call her.