Monday, April 06, 2009

original church

I exit Tastebuds tonight, and the sky is clear; the breeze from earlier today settled down for the night. I love this kind of weather. It makes me think of my friend Kyla, and if it weren't almost 10:00 on a weeknight, I might just call her to see if she would want to go for a walk. Few things are better than late-night jaunts under a clear sky, with a good friend, meandering conversation that leaves you feeling as though all is right with the world.

Tonight was poetry night, and I leave the cafe feeling happy. On my drive home, I think that this is what God had in mind when he thought about building his church. This small group of people who are growing friendships and laughing together; sharing food and tea, lemonade, hot chocolate (curiously, no one drinks coffee). People learning to trust each other enough to share secrets, failures and longings, punctuated by peals of laughter. The kind of true laughter that follows a bit of sadness, refreshing like a glass of ice cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

There is nothing, I think, that I could tell this group that would invoke any kind of judgement. I suppose it's easier to share because we're writing and then reading, not talking directly to a round of people, intent on helping you out of whatever mess you (or they) think you're in. I don't share something with the hope that they will have any sort of answers; it's merely a statement of fact - I feel this, I was disappointed in that, these are the things that make me happy, etc.

All too often, we gather in small church groups, well aware of how far from perfect we are, but for some reason we pretend it's not all that bad. Or we share something that we secretly don't think is all that bad, and act like we actually want to change. We may share something once every few weeks, something we're "struggling" with, or working on, but it's probably not the biggest thing on our minds right then.
(Even now, I write using "we" instead of "I" because it seems like less of a confession, and I'm sure these thoughts probably stem from my own lack of participation in other groups.)
Still, I feel a definite contrast when I meet my poetry friends every second Monday.

Not to say that it's all seriousness and sadness. Tonight I wrote about a picture of myself, taken when I was a kid. I'm sitting on the kitchen floor, worn blue jeans, western shirt, and my favorite stuffed toy - a lion that was actually very scratchy and not at all cuddly. I'm smiling. And through my exploratory"first thoughts" writing exercise, I realized that picture is a good representation of me. Smiling. Happy. Comfortable. Not doing terribly much, but quite content just to be.

Here's to small groups, in whatever form they come in - whenever we meet, may there be honesty and openness, peppered with laughter.

No comments: