And your eyes light up when we talk about the past

I sometimes wonder where it is, exactly, that people who don’t go to church meet their friends. Sure, that’s a bit silly, but yesterday I hung out with my friend Melissa (met through IV and attended the same church), had lunch with my new friend Ginny (from church), and had afternoon tea (mmmm, scones) with two more friends (also from church). Although it’s been changing, there aren’t many people at work who are my age, so I don’t regularly hang out with anyone there. Mike doesn’t work full-time, so we don’t hang out with his colleagues. We’re not involved in any sports or clubs. That pretty much just leaves church.

Over the past year, our church has been changing the way I think about Christian community. I used to think community wasn’t really valid unless you spent a certain amount of time talking about God or how your heart was doing or other Christian-y things like that. And then I started going to Wednesday night services. Our Wednesday night services include options such as Bible study, exercise, and some kind of craft or art. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but in the fall, when I was on my healthy living kick (that got kind of destroyed because of my surgery), I decided to do the walking group instead of doing Bible study. I didn’t get to go every week because of some work issues that kept me from getting there on time, but when I did go, I got to spend time walking and talking with friends and with other ladies from the church who aren’t as familiar to me. I realized later on that it was a little bit of a step in thinking of the whole church as a family, which we definitely felt during the Christmas season. It means that now, if I am actually dealing with a problem or need some advice or have something good to share, the circle of people I can share it with is just a little wider. It means that, instead of being thrown in with people I don’t really know and having to awkwardly talk about some of the things that are the most important to me, there’s a basis for sharing some of my heart. This session, I’m back in the Bible study, and, again, I feel good about getting to spend time with different people and learn how they relate to God, how they approach the Bible.

I spent some time yesterday talking about church, over Mexican food and later over tea. But I also talked about a lot of other things. My new friend and I have a lot more in common than I realized, having gotten married just two weeks apart and having similar backgrounds. The other two church friends and I talked about church and budgeting and dieting and movies and our husbands . . . all while eating cranberry scones. And Melissa and I ate cheese crackers, played with her daughter, and talked about Snakes on a Plane. One of my uncles always says that I am part of his “church,” and I’ve started realizing what he means. I didn’t specifically talk about “what God’s been doing” or even any of the things I’m going through, but I did open up about my past, I did share life and thoughts with all those women. It was real, true fellowship, which I needed.

Sometimes I wonder exactly how my life got to be the way it is, so different than I expected. But days like yesterday make me realize that it’s a very good life indeed.

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