It started with an unexpected meeting and was followed by a scheduled meeting which was followed by a canceled meeting that turned into an unscheduled (but delightful) lunch with folks from meeting #2. I was late to the next meeting because the lunch meeting was so interesting. And that late meeting was followed by another coffee meeting where one of my NC cousins was also getting coffee (#BigNCFamily).
And then – on the way home – I thought I’d stop by the church building of a congregation planning to merge with another congregation because I had not been there yet. One of the church matriarchs was there and she gave me a tour. But then she did something random: she invited me to dinner with some of her friends.
This kind of thing doesn’t happen in my life very often. Actually it never happens.
- Strangers don’t usually invite me to dinner.
- I often am on my way to the next thing and have someplace to go.
I ate dinner with Shirley, Doris, and Bob at the local Showmars. The other Bob would have joined us but he’s in Atlanta, I was told. They described themselves as misfits, laughing and sharing stories from different chapters of their lives. They talked about where they’d lived, assorted spouses, travels to interesting places. Doris has “been everything” but Presbyterian. Bob sings in his church choir but he says he’s deaf. They invited me to join them any morning at 7:30 for breakfast – same place, same booth.
When I thanked them for including me, Doris said, “Shirley is the kind of person who never lets you go.”
Imagine a spiritual community where people invite strangers to a meal. Imagine a spiritual community where friends are unafraid to share their failings as well as their victories without fear of judgment. Imagine a spiritual community where people never let you go. This, my friends, is Church.
Image of me and my new friends at their usual booth in Showmar’s, Charlotte, NC.