As Way Opens
It is interesting that as an Indianapolis Colts fan, I have not felt it necessary to post anything about the retirement of Andrew Luck on social media. Actually, I have had many mixed feelings since reading the news before bed last Saturday night. Yes, I felt the initial shock and let down of a promising season, but I also knew that something more was at play – that what Andrew was going through was genuine and deeply personal.
Watching the news, I found myself rather unsettled observing Andrew try and process all of his feelings in front of the camera for all the world to scrutinize. There were the haters booing him, the sports analysts trying to explain him, all while I began realizing I actually understood him. Not because I have been a professional football player, rather because I have been where Andrew Luck found himself in life. And I know many others who have been there, as well.
Unlike Andrew most of us do not have a 24.5 million dollar retirement plan. There is no escape plan or deal to be made. Instead, we often have to suffer along trying to make some needed changes or tweak life in ways that will help us endure. And most of the time, we are told that working to tolerate the pain and suffering is good for us. Mentors and relatives have taught us that sticking it out shows courage, endurance, and stretches us for the better. Yet, it is easier for someone else to say those things, when they themselves are not going through the difficulties, the pain, and struggle. Then when we see someone have a “wake up” call like Andrew Luck, we don’t know how to process it, calling him confused, cowardly, or even a quitter.
I will be honest, there have been times when all I wanted to do was walk away, to lay it down, to stop and take time to reset my priorities, to come up for air and enjoy life again. Through tear-filled eyes, Andrew’s words at the press conference hit me hard because I have said almost the same words,
“I’ve been stuck in this process…I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. It’s taken the joy out of this game. The only way forward for me is to remove myself from football.”
I also find it a bit ironic that Andrew Luck’s announcement came at the end of the week that I preached a sermon on The Freedom of Detachment (sermon link). Much like I explained in the sermon, Andrew Luck was getting “out the whip and clearing his temple.” He was having a “wake up call” and facing the bondage that had him missing out on life. And Andrew did what many of us simply cannot or won’t allow ourselves to do – he DETACHED and LET GO!
Just maybe we need to be reviewing our lives like Andrew Luck…Where are we “stuck in the process”? What is keeping us from living the life we want to live? What is stealing our joy? Is it time to detach and let go so we can find true freedom?
Grace and peace,
Joys & Concerns
Thank you Food Pantry Volunteers - We had a great group of volunteers who welcomed 109 folks at the food pantry last week. Volunteers were: Christie M, Kathy and Bill F, Phil G, Mara S, Dan H, Beth F, Linda and Rik L, and Carol and Jim D. Thanks to all!
Tyler R is getting married - We are excited to learn of Tyler R’s engagement to Valerie G. They will be married on September 26, 2020 in Nashville, TN. We send congratulations to the entire family on this joyous news!
Announcements, Reports, & Opportunities
SUNDAY FUNDAY IS THIS SUNDAY! Earlier this year, our Youth Affirmation Students brought the idea of having our first-ever Sunday Funday to the business meeting. To their excitement, it was well-received and approved. Sunday Funday is an opportunity for everyone at First Friends to come together and worship through PLAY! Be sure to bring the kids and the swimsuits, because there will be a bouncy house and a giant slip n’ slide! For those interested, Dan M is preparing a net for a rousing game of volleyball. In the fellowship hall we will provide board games and puzzles for those wanting to stay out of the sun (feel free to bring your own games as well)! As most Labor Day Weekends, we will gather at our normal Meeting for Worship time (10:15am) in the meditational woods – starting with some singing, waiting worship, and hearing from our Affirmation Youth about their trip to Philadelphia. As a last hurrah to summer, we will have a PITCH-IN picnic so plan to bring a dish for sharing! (A-L: Salads and sides; M-Z: Desserts). We will provide the main dish, BBQ! Mark your calendar and plan to come and enjoy worshipping through PLAY!
SPICES - A Series on Quaker Testimonies as Practiced in Our Community Garden
Peace - It is relaxing to plant seeds and later gather the harvest. It can be hard work preparing soil and weeding. It isn’t easy to problem-solve pest invasions in an organic garden. Sometimes the rain postpones planting or drowns seedlings and even bigger plants; other times the heat scorches and the humidity wrings all the moisture from a melting gardener. But overall, a deep satisfaction can be achieved while battling these obstacles. Being in nature frees one to slow down and notice the cravings of the soul. Through gardening one may become more open to the whisperings of the spirit, better able to hear the still, small voice. With fewer distractions we can notice the wonders of nature through our senses and recognize what is truly important in life. There is healing. There is the continual cycle of life, death and life. There is song to hear, a breeze to feel, a puffy cloud to see overhead, a sweet scent to experience and perhaps a fresh new exquisite taste to enjoy. There is peace to be found when absorbed in a field of green plants and colorful flowers. There is peace in the buzzing and fluttering of nearby insects. There is peace when one loses oneself in a different world for a little while. One can appreciate quiet thoughts of the inner life and let go of everyday stresses. Like the birds of the air, one can soar and fly, taking new found peace back to the “other” world and one’s friends in and beyond the garden. For there will be peace for the seed: the vine will yield its fruit, the land will yield its produce. And the heavens will give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit all these things. —Zechariah 8:12 These are the things which you should do: Speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. — Zechariah 8:16. —Nancy
Shalom Zone invites you to a showing of the film, Paris To Pittsburgh. This eco-film shines a light on the many forgotten communities and people who have been affected by climate change in our country, as well as solutions for how we can fight back and reduce our carbon footprint. Join us Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:00pm at Allisonville Christian Church – 7701 Allisonville Rd, Indianapolis. Watch the trailer: Paris to Pittsburgh. Discussion will follow the film.
The Underneath it All Grand Underwear Donation Blitz ~ We request donations of new underwear for school children from kindergarten up through high school. If it is not convenient for you to shop, you can leave a check made out to First Friends Meeting with a note that it is for Underneath it All. There is a box in Fellowship Hall for your donations. The underwear we donate goes to the John H. Boner Center where social workers pass it out when families come for assistance. We have done this for many years but have never tried to compress it into such a short time. Let’s try to accomplish this by September. Questions? Ask Linda L. Thank you for your generosity!
Living Well, Dying Well ~ All are invited to a free event hosted by Epworth United Methodist Church. “Living Well, Dying Well, Once You are Eligible for Medicare” is a free program that helps people plan for matters such as Medicare, wills, funerals, assisted living, and more. It is being held on Saturday, September 7 from 9:00am-noon. Throughout the day there will be different sessions on a variety of topics led by guest speakers and experts. Join us that day at Epworth United Methodist Church, at the corner of 65th St and Allisonville Road, Indianapolis. For more information see the flyer at http://bit.ly/2Y2XkIZ.
Sunday School Kickoff – Save the Date! ~ All are encouraged to join us for our Sunday School kickoff which will be Sunday, September 8! Starting at 8:30, we will have coffee and snacks to help you start your morning. Classes & choir practice all begin at 9am. We hope everyone will come dressed with your favorite sports team apparel for our kick off. Please join us!
Rise Up Sing Along! ~ Join us for a night of singing and music! Last month we had a veritable jamboree with guitar, cello and banjo playing! Join the Sing Alongers in the Parlor on the second Friday, September 13 at 7:00pm for another evening of free fun. (Note the date change, due to the women’s retreat.) Please join us!
Registration Open! First Friends Women’s Retreat ~ All women are invited to join us for our Women’s Retreat on September 20th - 22nd 2019. There are still spots available! The retreat will be held at the Benedict Inn Retreat and Conference Center in Beech Grove. Come join the retreat, full of fellowship, reflection and interaction with each other. For more information and to register, please visit http://bit.ly/FFWomensRetreat. Scholarships are available—please contact the office at email@example.com to inquire about scholarships.
Say "Cheese!" Did you know that First Friends publishes a pictorial directory every 4 years? This is a great way to get to know the names and faces of the members and attenders of our Meeting. It's also a great opportunity for a family portrait. Photographers will be at First Friends September 11-14 for the photoshoots. Schedule your photoshoot now! The photography session is free and you will have a fresh new photo for you and your family for the directory! Along with a free copy of the directory, each family will receive a complementary 8x10” printed photo. To book your photoshoot, please visit https://booknow-lifetouch.appointment-plus.com/b0ckk62y/. If you have any questions, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Helping the Food Pantry Go Green ~ As part of the Women’s Retreat in September we are undertaking the project of making reusable grocery bags for the pantry. They’re made out of tank tops, gathered at the bottom.
To that end we are collecting tank tops. They must be regular tank tops, not racer-back, spaghetti strapped, or have gigantic armholes. There will be a box by the Women’s Retreat sign up table to collect donations.
Thank you, in advance, for your donations.
The Festival of Faiths is coming again! September 22, 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and more. All together celebrating religious diversity and freedom.
This Week’s Queries
At First Friends, how can we answer the “Kingdom Call” to be bearers of the abundance of God?
What part do you play? In what way will you make visible God’s abundance in someone else’s life this week?