All on a Sunday in Berlin

I slept in a bit and got myself together. I took the dogs on their morning walk.  I wrote some and planned some and looked at my school work while I sipped my coffee.

Ana got up and we spent some time together and then she encouraged me to head to church.  After some hemming and hawwwing, I did it. I headed out the door.

I understand the compulsion to wanting to stay home on a Sunday morning. Sunday could be one of the only days in my week when I don’t have to battle the city. I wouldn’t have to get on public transit. I wouldn’t have to get myself to another part of town.  And yet today I chose yes to that but I understand the pull.  It is what made me a little bit later than planned but it’s ok because I am not leading anything today. I am attending.

So I meandered down to one of my favorite bakeries because I had magically forgotten to eat so far.  And the thought of getting to church on an empty stomach when it could be full of delicious pastry…well, I couldn’t even fathom so it took me a few more minutes to get my Sunday morning treat.

With chocolate croissant in hand and my layers all bundled I walked to the Ubahn.  I was just in time to walk right on and carried a friend’s new book with me to read in the train.

When I looked up I realized that I was reading English, the woman next to me was reading something in German, the woman across from me was reading in perhaps Turkish and the woman next to her was reading in probably Russian from what I could tell.

Thought: Berlin is a city in which four of us could be reading in four different languages.  That’s cool. 

My stop came up and I jumped out of the Ubahn.  The stop I get off of for church is under construction (like much of the city always is) and in this stop they have put up all of these temporary brown walls to cover up the construction happening underneath.  Each time I come to this stop those once empty walls are covered more and more in graffitti, messages, signatures, pictures, etc.

Thought: There is hardly a blank surface in this city. Every surface fills almost immediately.  Sometimes the art is poignant and thought provoking and sometimes it just feels like input and noise.  It makes me think what that says about this city that it is uncomfortable with blank surfaces without content. 

I continued on to church and approached the big heavy doors that admire each time I arrive. I was greeted warmly by friends.  The service was sweet and the hymns were pleasant to sing. I felt good about the service. Two of my closer Berlin friends sat behind me and a becoming good friend sat next to me. This feels right.  Nina says to her wife Rebecca, “perhaps I need to confront that scripture to reclaim it.”

I whipped around. I like that.  Confronting scripture.

Thought: What if we confronted scripture more often rather than just consuming or pacifying or being pacified by it?  What a lovely way to engage in a different way.  It’s bold and true and right.  

In the middle of the church service is prayer time and I long for this time. I want there to be space and time to dwell in prayer.  I thirst for it in my daily life, moments of stillness and connection to God but when the time came for a moment of silence the reader treated it like just a moment. Before I could even breathe out, we were on to the next thing.

Thought: Don’t give up the power of a pause. A true pause. A long pause. I pause to breathe out all that holds us back and breath in love and fire and all that can be.  Don’t underestimate the power in that moment of pause…looonng moment.  We don’t often give ourselves the permission for something that is longer than a beat. Why not in that setting?  We don’t have a race to finish. Give it time without words. Let the Spirit intercede for us when we don’t have the words.  

The church had a meeting after and it struck all the wrong chords in my body for a number of reasons.  I left feeling like I should not have stayed.  I sometimes have a temper and am grateful for people who let me process out loud. I had someone today and thank goodness for her presence to walk with me to the Ubahn and let me say something and then realize I didn’t mean it that drastically.  I was grateful for the journey home to think and the walk from the station home to think and process and ponder.

On the way home I noticed that the gold blocks that have names on them of people taken from those houses…those blocks that make us see history every day…those blocks that I try to honor and see….had carnations and a sign on them.  In German they say, “Never again.”  It made me honor the pause again and take me out of myself and I was grateful.

Thought:  What brings us out of ourselves to remember?

I came home and ranted to Ana as she left to go fetch her mom from the airport. I took the dogs out to walk and think more.  I checked email and composed email and then I watched a ted talk from Anne Lamott that has recently gotten play time again and she struck me with some truth.

“God is the word for not us.” “Help is the sunny side of control.”  “Bird by bird.” Things I knew but today the words were helpful again.

Thought: Wisdom yells from the street corner, from the videos, from the people around us and from the still silence.  

Not bad for a Sunday that has more to go.

One Comment Add yours

  1. That is very interesting; I didn’t know about those little blocks.

    Thanks for walking me through your thought processing of this day!

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