Okay, the image above isn't from a CC0 site, it's a photo I took of the church where I currently work. Pretty classic, no? It has inspired me in more ways than one.
Along with Patti, the Church of the Epiphany is home to characters who play important roles in Lindsay’s life.
Let’s look at Drew Palmer first, the senior pastor and Lins’ boss. Lins says, Drew is “a teddy bear of a man, someone who could explain that you had completely screwed something up, but could say it so tactfully that you would walk out of his office with a clear understanding of exactly what went wrong and still feel that you were a competent human being.” Twenty years older than Lins, he serves as her mentor, guiding her through the complicated world of parish ministry.
Because Drew understands the ups and downs of the vocation, he is more than ready to counsel Lins after Neil asks her to join the band.
Drew entered the office. “What band?” He pulled mail out of his box and proceeded to look it over.
“The Grim Reapers,” Sue replied.
“Patti told me they want Lins to be their new singer.”
Drew looked up in surprise. “Don’t tell me you’re going to add rock star to your resume,” he said.
Frustrated, Lins confesses, “All right, all right, just stop it. A guy I met has a band, I’ve sung a couple of times with him and then with his band and … oh, dang! This is complicated!”
His reply? “I’m good at complicated. Why don’t we step into my office?”
And so, they disappear into his office and have a talk about callings, questions, and life-changes. Drew enjoys working with Lins, but always has her best interest at heart, so much so that he is saddened when she and Neil break up and frustrated when Lins decides not to work for a reconciliation.
Lins finds additional support from church secretary Sue DeLucca, her office mate. Like everyone else, Sue wants her friend to find a good relationship and a fulfilling life.
Being the church secretary, Sue is privy to things most parishioners know nothing about (people’s joys, sorrows, grief, and hopes), as well as the technical end of church life (the discovery of mice or ants in the kitchen, a leak in fellowship hall, when to order more paper for the copy machine, and when the fire marshal is coming for an inspection, among many other things). She has developed a nose for news and because of that could be described as just a tad nosy.
Like Patti, Sue sees Neil as a potential mate for Lins and pushes her to pursue the relationship, which makes Lins uncomfortable.
Sue: “So … how’s the vacay been going?”
“Just fine? That’s all?”
Sue opened her picture file on her cell phone and held it up for me to see. “Patti texted me last night. This looks more than just fine.”
It was a photo of Neil and me on stage at the Flying Fish. We were singing straight at each other. He had an incredible, snarly expression while I looked like some kind of fierce rock queen. It would have made a great image for a music download. “Oh, that,” I said evasively. “That was just a little fun.”
After the break up, Sue is caring, yet willing to give Lins space.
“You gonna be okay?” Her voice was concerned.
I opened my laptop case. “Eventually.” I plugged the laptop in. “It’s just hard, you know? It’s like there’s a gaping hole in my life.” A push of a button and my machine whirred into action as it started to boot up. “It feels so bad, Sue, sometimes I hardly can stand it.” I blew out a long breath. “I’m just glad I haven’t fallen in love more than I have.”
She patted me compassionately on the shoulder. “I’m here if you need to talk.”
“I know. Thanks. But lately all I’ve done is talk and it hasn’t done very much good.”
“Just know we love you.”
I smiled faintly. I love you, too.” And I meant it.
The characters found at the Church of the Epiphany draw their quirks and bits of personality from people I have known and worked with during my years in ministry. I’m a people-watcher and I love that people are so varied and idiosyncratic and amazing.
Before I close this blog, I want to highlight three other characters. They are the Abbey sisters: Harriet, Rosa, and Lena. I stole their attitudes from three girls I have known since their childhood. Now, I am proud to say, they are cruising into young womanhood and are going to be women to reckon with. One of them will become president, I’m sure. While I’m waiting for that to happen, I would love to do a Heart Soul & Rock’n’Roll sequel just to expand those three characters.
Tomorrow, my last Heart Soul installment for the moment: The Grim Reapers.
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder