It’s nice to see – I must admit – that even though you continue to care for me (as the years have proceeded) that your Property peeps are more representative of your diversity. In other words, not all men!
Oh how I remember one Fall Supper – now when was that? Maybe ’63? – and the women were in the kitchen and the men wanted to fiddle with the stoves, what a row! Mrs. Murphy finally shouted, when she could not longer endure the disruption, “Dennis, if we can feed 300 people in a sitting, trust me, we can not only change a fuse, we can even do the rewiring!” The pause that followed that and seeped tensely into the following months would – most fortunately – not occur now. Just one of the great memoires I have down here!
So there you were – Property peeps – I like that word ‘peeps.’ I admit I’ve borrowed it from the Scout group when they’re here Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Their crafts have certainly become more intricate. Once it was wood and carving. Now there’s also soldering, electronics, and the math, wow!
So there they were, trying to plot out where to hold this year’s Fall Supper – or to be more accurate, when! Seems that Tuesday and Wednesday nights the basement houses Girl Guides and Scouts. Monday, the AA Group gathers as they support one another to heal. Of course Thursday to Friday there are the yoga sessions – both the youth GSA and new mom’s group have to rotate biweekly for one of the spots – and on Saturday the labyrinth group. I loved when you put that tiled walk into my floor. The tears that have fallen as people awaken in silence to the Divine is bloody brilliant, by the way! And – just as frustration was dawning – they found one Sunday night: usually the Syrian community gathers to share stories, grieve and laugh since you welcomed so many of them. But on October 25th they were not going to be here! And there was much rejoicing …
For a moment, I thought Sandra (Mrs. Murphy’s grand-daughter no less) almost derailed the revelation. There – in that moment – she almost started to shift the conversation to the Hall upstairs. Now I don’t know much about up there, but I am pretty certain by the rest of the group’s body language, it’s just as busy there! Wow – what a place!
It really is amazing what you have done over the years – though I think you’re just starting to see it. I think Rev. Meadow helped with some of that movement during that Appreciative Inquiry gathering you had in September. I loved her line, “I’m not trying to jolly you up, but have you ever looked at it this way?” she asked. Not sure if it was rhetorical, but there was a pause and then did you listen.
She got you talking about those laments you ‘ve had for years. Oh and you know the ones I mean, when you whisper them like prayer or protest: Once the Sunday School filled the basement, once there were so many youth groups that even little Micky, who got stuck behind the furnace playing hide and seek in ’72 (no way that would happen today!), found it difficult to remember – now that he is Leadership Team Director – most of his friends no longer attend. Rev. Meadow let that hang … I think she would call it ‘honouring silence.’
Then – this is brilliant – she stymied you: “And holding onto that loss, what happens now in this space?”
Well … there was a pause. I could hear your brains working – I really could! Sort of like when you let the youth group paint the walls down here in ’92. You said ‘yes,’ they said ‘our way,’ and you agreed! And before the big reveal, were you ever imagining what you would find. Balloons filled with paint really do colour-up-drab-grey-walls was their mantra! Still looks pretty good to me on the one wall you have left with that year’s name of graduates and everyone since then who has left for trade school, college or to bravely enter life’s unexpected journey after high school …
And that – my friends – is when it seemed you awoke to what you had been nurturing in new ways, even though you had not recognised it (of course I kept trying to tell you, but who listens to me?)! What were once just renters or community groups, you decided were friends and partners. Now … I’m still not sure about this one as I have no idea what outside looks like you’re considering partnering further to build again! Not a sanctuary or church this time: but a space for more community groups – yes I know partners is the new buzz word – to have access to affordable physical space, but who might not otherwise be able to gather in as private rentals are so expensive!
All I can say it – you r0x0r! Keep up the good work … not sure what’s next for you. I know there’s still all that budget and stewardship stuff that sometimes seems tedious – well it does to me! But you seem more energetic than you have in years! Seeing you embrace what you now have, sure seems healthier than holding on to a time so tightly you couldn’t see the new abundance. And, fwiiw, I think Rev. Meadow would call that seeing with new eyes …