Finding Meaning

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In Praise of Weak Forces

By Skip Hellewell

Gravity is a weak force; it takes the whole mass of the earth to keep us grounded and we can still jump into the air when we’re happy. But gravity is patient and in the end, it always wins. Other weak forces act in our lives and influence our ultimate outcomes.

Children are a weak force—don’t the parents have greater strength, knowledge, and authority? Notwithstanding their weakness, children have great influence, teaching their parents traits important to the child. Don’t they make us more like them—patient, charmed by the world around us, caring of animals, even a bit more innocent?

And what about our spouses? The Beautiful Wife is petite and peaceful; I’m bigger and able to marshal more facts to argue my case. Yet over the course of our marriage, her values have prevailed. I’ve become more patient, more respectful of people, even a bit more social. And I must acknowledge that under her influence, my life has steadily gotten better through our years together. I hope her life has also.

Here’s to the weak forces in our lives. They have the power to transform, if we give them time and space. Which brings me to a unique program starting this Sunday evening at Laguna Presbyterian. It’s called Alpha, and it’s designed to enable us to transform our lives through living by faith. If you feel something is missing in your life, Alpha might just might be the answer. All ages are invited, from high school and up. The process is open and friendly; it begins with sharing a meal, hearing some instruction, and then discussing the topic in small and friendly groups. There’s no cost; Alpha is a service to the community. It’s a journey of exploration, of opening doors and seeing what you’ve been missing, and of making new friends.

Alpha is organized in Laguna by Mike Millson, an interesting guy who is an Elder at Laguna Presbyterian. Mike was born in South Africa, studied and worked as a furniture designer and builder, and with his wife Caroline reared two remarkable daughters. When I asked Mike to tell about himself, he talked about his wife and daughters—not-so-weak forces in his life.

The ninth Alpha session is a retreat where the value of relying on the Holy Spirit as a vital force in our lives is introduced. The Holy Spirit, you’ll learn, is a weak force that if heeded has the power to transform your life.

In writing “Finding Meaning,” I attend all the Laguna churches and observe and become acquainted with the members. Though at different stages of their lives, I experience them as unusually good and saintly people, the end result of the weak forces introduced at Alpha.

Think about attending Alpha. You can call or text Mike at 949-244-1862, or visit for details. You don’t have to register to attend, but it might ensure there’s enough dessert for you. A likely outcome of Alpha is you’ll become more active in your spiritual life, whether at Laguna Presbyterian or the church of your choice. There’s meaning in that.

Skip fell in love with Laguna on a ‘50s surfing trip. He’s a student of Laguna history and the author of “Loving Laguna: A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.” Email: [email protected]

Places to worship (all on Sunday, unless noted):

Baha’i’s of Laguna Beach—contact [email protected] for events and meetings.

Calvary Chapel Seaside, 21540 Wesley Drive (Lang Park Community Center), 10:30 a.m.

Chabad Jewish Center, 30804 S. Coast Hwy, Fri. 6 p.m., Sat. 10:30 a.m., Sun. 8 a.m.

Church by the Sea, 468 Legion St., 9 & 10:45 a.m.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 682 Park Ave., 10 a.m.

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 635 High Dr., 10 a.m.

ISKCON (Hare Krishna), 285 Legion St., 5 p.m., with 6:45 feast.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, 20912 Laguna Canyon Rd., 1:00 p.m.

Laguna Beach Net-Works, 286 St. Ann’s Dr., 10 a.m.

Laguna Presbyterian, 415 Forest Ave., 8:30 & 10 a.m.

Neighborhood Congregational Church (UCC), 340 St. Ann’s Drive, 10 a.m.

United Methodist Church, 21632 Wesley, 10 a.m.

St. Catherine of Siena (Catholic), 1042 Temple Terrace, Sunday 7:30, 9, 11, 1:30 p.m. (Spanish). Saturday: 4 pm Reconciliation, 5:30 Mass.

St. Francis by the Sea (American Catholic), 430 Park, 9:30 a.m.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 428 Park Ave., 8:00 & 10:30 a.m.

Unitarian Universalist, 429 Cypress St., 10:30 a.m.


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