Monday, December 7, 2009

First In/Last Out

The congregation I serve had quite a day yesterday. They voted to take the next steps toward buying a church building. A home. There were two votes, and while there were a few abstentions, there were no votes opposed. Sounds like quite a mandate to me.

But of course, regular church life went on, the regular things happened. I was the first one at church, arrivinag a couple of hours before our start time. As I pulled in to the lower lot next to the Masonic Temple we rent, the men who sleep in the doorway stood up and gathered their things. One was still there as I headed past him and up the stairs.

"'Morning!" I said.

"Beautiful day" he replied. "Getting ready for services?"

I always arrive with armfuls of stuff for the day. On this first trip in I was carrying a crock pot for the soup lunch-- one of our volunteers had called, her son was sick and she wasn't going to make it in with her pot of soup so I'd grabbed some frozen lentils and things that I hoped would make a passable soup as I left home that morning.

"Yep, makin' soup today, it's a big day and the people need full bellies so they can make good choices." by this time I'd stopped to talk with him. We stood in the cold sun, half way up the steps. I thought about talking about full bellies with a man who had just slept outside on the night of a hard frost.

"You folks need any help with the dishes or anything?"

"Sorry, the Masons do all the dishes." which is true. He walked up the stairs with me, asked a little about just what Unitarian Universalism was, asked about service time, and wished me a good day.

I went in and moved on with the day. Two teachers were out sick with a bad cold, but great folks stepped in for one class and I got to teach the Older Elementary kids. Glad I did too, they're really interested in what this new church building stuff is all about, and a little confused, too. We had the soup lunch run by the Religious Education Council, and a big massive child care for the meeting time to set up in the midst of the Mason's Christmas party set up. Then the meeting with lots to think about, lots to discuss, lots to puzzle over. I spoke for my two minutes, which was no where near enough time, but I got to share what I feel about what a building would do for the congregation.

After two hours, I got out the BIG tin of cookies to pass around. No, we're not supposed to eat in the hall, but it was a special day. Then the nursery provider had to leave to go with her family to buy a Christmas tree, so I got to sit with some little ones--a special treat especially when I've known some from the time they were a "wish".

Then the vote, and excitement. I had lots of help taking down the child care corner, help hauling the tv up three flights of stairs to the office. Help picking up all the leftovers from our day. Everyone headed out to finish the weekend. Hustle and bustle or quiet and peace.

Then, as I closed up the office, turned off the heat, stashed some paperwork in our shared office to be handled later, I thought about the church; about the people, about our precious children, about some folks who are unhappy with me and about the man who I'd chatted with on my way in six hours earlier. It's a funny thing to be in a space that just held such energy. It all swirled around in me. I took a minute to look at the office--moved some things back into "board room" configuration for the Wednesday board meeting, I grabbed the last three clementines that sat on the table, turned off the light and headed for my car.

I drove home with no radio, no music, eating my fruit. Thinking. Resting. Sometimes being the "first in and last out" makes me irritated. But not this day, I was happy to be the bookends on this day. It had been a good one, a really good one.

1 comment:

boston unitarian said...

Hi Kari!
I am usually "first in/last out" at my church as well-In fact, people start to worry if they get to church before me...
Continued thanks for your blog and for your work! blessings, BU