It’s about time for another update, so here goes. The first church we went to ended up being the one. (Just as an FYI–it’s predominantly African American and in the worst part of town.) Both my husband and I decided that it was the right place after our first Sunday there, before discussing it, so we were relieved to have arrived at the same conclusion. We’ve been going there for a little over a month now. We like it, but it’s going to take some time to feel integrated. We had been at our previous church for so long that we didn’t need to engage in small talk anymore. We already knew all the issues that each person was facing, all about their families, etc. It was like gathering with our extended family. Now we’re starting over and I’m realizing just what a daunting task that is. I’m not one for small talk anytime, so put me in a church full of people I don’t know and it’s the perfect recipe for my anxiety to ratchet up! It’s easiest for me to get to know people when we’re working side by side, and/or in the context of doing normal everyday things together. That’s probably where I need to focus my attention. It’s just going to take time and I have to accept that in the meantime it’s going to feel awkward and a bit lonely.
On a completely different note…
An interesting lesson that God has taught me since moving here is that I need to be willing to give up whatever I’m eating at a moment’s notice. I tend to snack in the car, but there have been a few times when I was snacking and I pulled up next to a homeless person holding a “Homeless and Hungry” sign at a stop light. That leaves me with two choices: try to hide my food until I’ve driven past them or close it up and hand it out the window. Out the window it went! I quickly explained that I had already had my hand in there and been snacking, but that was not an issue. They were willing to take it anyway. I’ve since learned to just keep food in the car that can quickly be handed through the window. On Mother’s Day we took some of our leftover Chinese takeout to a homeless man who we regularly see on our way to Wal-mart. It felt like a very motherly thing to do on that day.
The other big thing that happened recently is that my neighbor’s cousin was murdered by her own husband. As she was telling me the story about what happened, there were enough similarities that it triggered the feelings I felt when my sister died fifteen years ago. I didn’t have any great words of wisdom to offer her, but I listened as she was trying to process the situation, tried to validate her feelings, gave her a hug, and told her she would make it through this. It’s going to take her a long time to process everything, but I’ll try to be a sounding board for her. I think I would have appreciated someone like that when my sister died. Plus, it was therapeutic for me to offer someone else comfort in an area that is difficult for me, too.
We’re still trying to get the house set up, but we’re much farther along than we were. There are still light fixtures to install, electrical work to be done, along with many other projects, but it’s actually a functional home now. My husband’s project for today and tomorrow is to get the plumbing installed for both kitchen sinks.
In our neighborhood we’re getting used to the shouting and swearing, the sirens and the need for caution and watchfulness. It’s a different way of life and it’s going to take some getting used to. There are good things too: friendly neighbors who watch out for one another, a front porch close enough to socialize with the neighbors, and a mutual understanding that none of us is perfect and we’ll give each other space to be ourselves. (‘Cause when you live this close, you KNOW each others’ business!)
- many people at church have loved ones with cancer — please pray for healing
- safety & good connections to be made at a community outreach the church is hosting on Saturday
- the safety of a friend and her children who are traveling to see us this weekend
- that bridges of friendship would be built between our old and new churches