It was my intent to write a post about keeping warm if the heat goes out but my heart is just not in it. It is sitting on a wooded hilltop with the smoking rubble of a tiny church. We have two churches in Cummington and Bruce and I have a foot in both. We generally attend the one that we live next door to, primarily because of obligation (we are the only young couple left attending and we hate to leave the old folks behind) and partly for convenience as we walk there. But our hearts have been in the West Cummington Church. The minister is one of our dearest friends. His boys grew up with our boys and they are still best friends. Our friends attend WC and the theology is much more aligned to ours.
This was no fancy church. It was one room; no bathroom, no church school room, no kitchen, no grand organ. But the light lay in a slant across the pews in the morning and music from the old piano sounded like an angel humming. The communion vessels were hand-made by a local potter and a quilter had donated a gorgeous quilt for the big wall. My sons were married by the minister, my grandson was baptized there. The first time I heard my son sing in public was at a service in our little church. When we walk in the door, the men who go to men’s group with Bruce great each other with bear hugs. It was the warmest, most beautiful place in the world. And yesterday morning, it was destroyed in a fire.
There is much to be thankful for. Nobody was hurt. The congregation is smart and talented dedicated and cohesive. We will rebuild. I have thought some about why I am so wounded by the loss. I think it is because we have so few places left in the world. The ubiquitous McDonalds and KFC, the same,same, match, match of the suburban housing, landscape, the slavery to a particular fashion has made most places look and feel much like every other place. billboards display the logo for Coke in Detroit and in Tokyo. In the midst of all of this nowhere, Cummington is very much somewhere, a particular place with a particular feel and nowhere is this more evident than in our church. It had heart and soul and a quirky personality that would not have been improved upon by indoor plumbing.
Forgive me for using this forum as a place to share my grief. So many of you have become friends and I know you will understand my need to vent, to sit with my sadness and give it a home for a bit. I will be back tomorrow but for now I need to hunker down and spend time with these feelings. Bless you.