Rise in Love

This trip to Los Angeles was shorter and much sweeter. It even made worthwhile the four hour trip up there.

Being an alum of the Agape International Center of Truth, I was privileged to be invited to a special event, "Rise In Love" on June 16th. Almost two years ago, Agape pulled away from the United Church(es) of Religious Science to establish their organization and spiritual movement. On Saturday, it was a community time of celebration to re-dedicate their sanctuary, acknowledge the first class of graduating practitioners (under their auspices and curriculum); and ordain their staff of ministers.

Happily, I stayed at the home of Rev. Nancy Zala (she is my dear colleague, friend, girlfriend and the minister who will officiate at our wedding in November). Rev. Nancy and I served together at Agape as Practitioners; and she went on to be the minister for the Children's Church there for years.

To ameliorate the four hour car trip to get to Culver City, Nancy fixed us dinner and then
I took her to a movie. We went to the new Landmark Theatres in West Los Angeles. I have not been to a cinema like this before. It was an immense building added onto an existing shopping mall. As you arrived up the escalators, a greeter was there to welcome you. Had we been so inclined we could have stopped at the large wine bar replete with video screens and music lest we be without entertainment and forced to merely converse. We went past the concierge and the glass display of DVD's for purchase and found our way past the concessions (which had quite the array of choices) to the box office, as it were. No, Toto we were no longer at the Kansas movie house. This was a large counter that was illuminated from underneath and the usher/greeters made sure you were in the right line once they ascertained your film choice. Tickets were $11.00 (gulp) and the selections were made on computerized touch-screens.

The box-counter person showed us a screen to indicate the seats that were still available and he made his recommendations. It took both Nancy and I moment to realize that we were purchasing assigned seats...ohhhh. Having not been in this cinema, we took his suggestion and headed for the theatre itself. Someone took our tickets and then real-life usherettes checked out stubs and guided us to our seats. Our large, leather seats. Each row had enough space to walk past seated patrons without disturbing them; a beverage holder of course, and the seat rocked ever so slightly if you so desired. No wonder the ticket prices were so high.

We could quickly ascertain that the movie trailers matched the energy and guesstimated age level of those in attendance for the feature film. We had chosen the indie film, "Once" because it got wonderful reviews, it was Irish and a musical. It was indeed a perfect little film. The lead actor looked like an Irish version of a young Paul McCartney; and the lead actress was so quirky and endearing. I do recommend it for those of you who do not require mega-stars, shoot-em-ups or high tech.

Saturday morning, I dressed in my rev gown and went to Agape. By now, I have forgotten that I do not look the same with my short hair and was surprised at how many people did not recognize me at first--including Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith! We hugged and laughed. And before walking in, he touched my arm and said, "I'm so glad you showed up." Me, too.
The Choir sang the processing ministers to their seats. We were treated to songs, dance, prayers and empowering speeches. It was such an affirming and uplifting ceremony. Being that this was a smaller, in-house event, I was able to see so many more dear friends than I might have at a Sunday service. I even manifested seeing someone I had not seen there since the first two years. During the service, I began to think about Isiah McGee and made a mental note to ask Rev. Coco or Rev. Nirvana if they ever see him anymore. On my way from the parking lot, I see this man in sunglasses heading towards me and I stop with my mouth agape (ha ha--I was agape at Agape!). It was Isaiah! We talked almost as if the 15+ years had not passed.

It was so good to be home-- my spiritual home. It was so good to be where we all spoke the same language of joy. I practically flew back to Rev. Nancy's house.

Rev. Nancy joined me to visit my mother. It is almost miraculous how well Mom is doing. Nancy gave us an extra phone she was no longer using so that Mom could have a new one with big push-buttons to use. We stopped and got her two packages of Oreo's and a box of saltines as well. Mom was very upbeat and appreciated our visit. I then took Nancy over to Mom's apartment to show her what I was talking about when I said I had a huge task to close down the apartment. Nancy walked in and was dumbfounded. "This is like a consignment store." Yep. I do have my work cut out for me.

That evening after dinner, Nancy and I sang show tunes as she drove us to a nearby Starbucks.
I was on a mission to find a store that still had the Paul McCartney gift cards for sale. I had meant to buy one on June 5th when his new album was released at Starbucks but neglected to. And for the past week, all the stores I visited in San Diego and Los Angeles had sold out. One barista told me that the cards were now selling on e-Bay if I really wanted one. I called several locations from Nancy's house and found one store that still had some and agreed to hold two for me. We pulled into the shopping mall and found parking. I went in and found Briell who held the cards for me and I bought one for Don (who is a huge Beatles fan) and one for myself. This bustling store had a huge art mural and photos of Magic Johnson adorning all the walls. Interesting that I had to travel all the way to Ladera Heights, a primarily African-American community, to find any remaining cards. Guess McCartney is not a very big musical draw or considered collectible. After we left, I wondered if I should have bought more cards and sold them on e-Bay myself.

When we returned home, Rev. Nancy and I indulged ourselves in visioning and prayer for our respective ministries. Then we did a second set and visioned on the wedding! It was oh so sweet to share this with her. (I did call Don beforehand and told him to send out his thoughts in consciousness and we would gather them into the vision). Then we shared another special treat-- Nancy is also an "I Love Lucy" fan and she records episodes on her DVR. She said she usually watches one or two shows before going to sleep. Cool! I thought that would be a great way to end the day. So, I climbed into bed like two teenage girls and we watched three episodes together until we were both falling asleep. Then I went upstairs to my room to sleep with Samantha, the hostess cat.

This time, I returned home uplifted and not stressed. Ahhhhhhhh, it's good to be home--both times.


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