Loren and I are enrolled in a church planting class through the CEA. This class initiates intentional activity as well as extending our thoughts on "church." One of the assignments was to be more deliberate about relationships, which was intriguing because I had been feeling the need to create more relationships outside of the sphere of church - volunteering one hour a week at an Elementary School really is not cutting it. Last Monday, for Loren and my day off, we walked to Market of Choice to sit by the fires flame. A plethora of people passed by; some sat still and were ready for conversation and some were not. Many lovely words were exchanged between Brenners and strangers - fire amazes me in the sense that it creates a relaxed atmosphere. One of the last ladies, "Connie," to sit and visit was older, 88 to be exact. She wore red which I admired. Somehow she landed on the topic of writing; creative writing with 3 other ladies every other Saturday. I eventually invited myself to this group: it was fitting! I adore and cherish the elderly as well as enjoy writing creatively. All of my contact information was asked for and freely given (full name, phone number, address, email) to which Loren said they were plotting my death.
One day later, she called. Excited to pick me up on her way to "Barabara's" at Stoney Brook, the plan was set for Saturday - also known as today. I will be honest; I was a little nervous, unsure of what I was really doing, but confident that I needed to go through this.
It was profoundly comfortable! Each of the women were so intrigued that a young lady as myself would dare join a group of women who are 70+ years of age. I was fascinated that they allowed me! One woman lived in Japan for 12 years; another lives in Switzerland but is from Canada; another has lived here for 17 years and has a 15 year old son (I know right?!); the last is from Massachusetts. Most of their husbands have passed. It was an odd feeling - they at the end of their marriage, life in general, me right at the beginning.
We spent 45 minutes in silence writing something creative about our life, which I will be uploading later. Then read the piece out loud to one another, applauding with support. I wrote about my near death experience in Hawaii, 6 years ago. To write a memoir of that happening pushed me towards a restoration I didn't realize I needed. Etching the words into my journal, scrawling quickly every part of that memory, was a cure to the painful memory. I now look back and see grace and rescue.
Each time we meet, I will write a memoir of my life: the occurrences where my life could have been taken. (Mary - do you want to join me?). I look forward to the healing and restoration that will follow!
I had planned to bless and serve, ready to build intentional relationships and in return Jesus (once again) brought me to my knees in humble adoration. Grateful for this life, thankful for the random connection I made at Market of Choice, excited for the future. "Connie" invited me to stop by her home anytime, seeing as she lives right down the road! Looks like Jesus has way bigger plans for my life than I have ever dared to dream.
Where can you build an intentional relationship? How can you make room to let Jesus rock your world? Joining a book club? Going to the library morning-reading for moms and kids (cant wait to do that! #notpregnant)? A coffee shop with regulars? I am sure that wherever that part of your journey begins, the building will be a blessing and even healing in unexpected ways.
Above: pottery made by host, "Barbara"