Religion touched a nerve that day. My experience made me feel connected to the church. So I began going on a regular basis enjoying the music, contemplating the sermons, participating in Bible studies, and attempting to sing in the choir. I eventually was asked to stopped singing; to say my range and voice quality were unremarkable would be an exaggeration. But the other activities continued because I knew Dr. Lebensohn felt they were good for me. And they felt good: being with nice people, talking with others about religious topics that interested me, and attending church food events.
But church was only one item on Dr. Lebensohn's list. The requirement to involve myself in art and creativity was another. And so soon after my church experience, I began taking art lessons at the local community college and loved it. The building was brand new and beautiful and the teacher was a gifted instructor who loved finding out people's unique style and encouraging it with enthusiasm. Going to class with Randy at the helm provided stimulation, emotional support, and a community of artsy people, old and young, who I enjoyed watching, learning from, and getting to know.
As an arts major in college, I'd been surrounded by suburban white kids with a similar but limited point of view. At the community college, people from all walks of life were represented. Their unfamiliar and unpredictable attitudes and approaches to art and life fascinated me. For the first time, I had friends who were black, Asian, Muslim, retired, pretending to be hippies, former convicts, the whole gamut. And most everyone wore the same blue jeans as I did.
While work with my fellow flight attendants reminded me I could once again hold a job and support myself, my time in art class became another church experience, helping me feel I was more than just an employee on probation trying to get back on her feet.
To be continued ...