Minister's Monthly Column

September 2019


Kate and I made the mistake of booking flights home from California for July 3.  Take this advice:  do not book flights for July 3.  The story is long and tedious but here are the good parts.

The airline gave me a hotel voucher (to a very nice hotel) where I hung out for the 12 hours before my re-booked flight was to take off.  (My original flight was cancelled.  Kate traveled separately and got out.  That’s another long and tedious story.)  I actually had a lovely day.  The hotel staff advised me to leave the hotel 1½ hours before my departure time.  Which I did but there was so much traffic that it took nearly an hour to travel the mile from the airport hotel to the actual airport.

Welcome to Los Angeles. 

Once I got to the airport, there was the obligatory running through crowds and leaping over small children (I’m not kidding) to get to the gate.  But between my gate and I was the dreaded TSA security check.  My heart withered at the sight of a quarter mile-long line of travelers all bleary-eyed for the red-eye flights ahead of them – all waiting patiently to remove their shoes. 

I could not miss this flight. 

I took a deep breath and got to work.  I started at the end of the line with the first traveler, “Excuse me.  My flight leaves in 20 minutes.  Could I please step ahead of you?”  And then I held my breath unsure of how the ask would be received.  To my great relief, I got the go ahead.  Over and over and over again, “Excuse me.  My flight leaves in 20 minutes.  Could I please step ahead of you?”  Slowly, those ahead were becoming aware of this unusual movement … someone (me) moving forward … and dear Souls, folks began to anticipate my arrival and preemptively gave the okay with good will until finally – and this is really amazing – as I got close to the gate, the TSA agent opened up the barrier a few feet ahead of the actual entrance and waved me in! 

I moved through quickly, ran to the gate and onto the plane where collapsed into my seat with a burst of relief and gratitude and not a minute too soon: the door closed just as I was settling in. 

I’m writing this story for you in the week that follows two mass shootings; relentless images of migrants at our southern border fleeing their home countries only to experience unspeakable suffering for our country’s cruelty, oh, you know what all else.  But there is this: despite everything a quarter mile long line of travelers not only let me pass but also rooted for me, that I would make it to the gate and onto my flight on time. 

In her President’s Column, Maggie Clouet shares equally lovely images and stories of people behaving with generosity, good will, and a commitment to hospitality.  At All Souls we not only strive to remember these stories, we strive to be the central characters in these stories. 

“Church is where you practice being who you really want to be.”  As a new program year begins at All Souls – a year that promises to be chock full of transition and disruption in our shared congregational life – we’re going to have ample opportunity to practice being our best selves.  We are up to it.  We are better for it and as importantly the world is better for our effort. 

It’s so important that you keep up with all the goings-on at All Souls this year as we embark on our building project.  Here’s my personal plea to you:  please read the newsletter.  Read the weekly eblast.  Come to church on Sunday … and all the days in-between. 

All Souls’ Water Communion and Pies for Peace are rituals that center our mission “to create a welcoming, caring, and justice-seeking community”.  I’ll look forward to seeing your beautiful faces as we gather together in Love. 

With love for the journey, Carolyn