Well, we had some excuses: our son has a bit of a cold so we don't want him contaminating other kids; whenever we've been going to meeting lately he cries until one of us comes and rescues him from the nursery; we were all tired; it was a beautiful sunny day and we may not get many more...
So we didn't go to meeting.
I feel kind of bad, because I want to build community and I want to get to know people at our meeting, but oh well.
We've instituted a new tradition (2 weeks running so far) of going to coffee before meeting. (Well, I guess we can't say it's a tradition of going before meeting because we only did the meeting part once.) Anyway, there's a local coffee shop that I work at sometimes--I've worked there off and on since we moved here, but now since I have the research assistant job I just cover shifts now and then. But it's enough to still get our 40% discount! But anyway, there's only one independent coffee shop in town, except that it has two locations. It's a cool place. I really like it. So the one we go to most often now is the newer one, which is smaller and feels more like a neighborhood coffee shop. The other one is right downtown and it's fun to go study there, but it's crazy busy. This one is busy, but it's more laid back, and there's a constituency of regulars that you can get to know more quickly. So we went there this morning.
I think the single best pastoral asset I've gained in the last year and a half is my son. We have something in common with other people with babies, and he runs around and entertains people and then we strike up conversations. Today he petted a dog and laughed an amazing belly-laugh when it started licking his face. He brings a smile to everyone's faces, and makes us seem more approachable, apparently.
So I missed meeting this morning, but I felt like it was really important just being out in the community and chatting with regular people.
There's this sweet older gentleman who's a photographer, and the first time he saw us, the day after we got back from Oregon, he asked if he could take our picture, not knowing Joel's a photographer too. He and his wife seem really friendly and joy-filled. We've seen him each Sunday morning when we've gone to coffee and we chat with him for a little while. He wants to take our pictures for studio modeling, so maybe you'll see one of his pictures on our Christmas cards, if we get around to it! Today he invited Joel to a local photographer's club.
We talked with several other people while we were there, and our son made everyone smile who walked in and out of the coffee shop.
Then we went to a hospital rummage sale--one of the people we met at the coffee shop tipped us off about it. We got there at just the right time--about 10 minutes before they started a bag sale. We got to look around while everyone was generally well-behaved, then we bought our 2/$5 bags and could take anything we wanted even if it didn't fit in the bags. It was perfect for finding new kids books and toys. We even got a cool collapsible tunnel thing that we've seen other kids have, and always thought we should get one.
Anyway, while we were there I struck up conversations with a couple people working there and learned about their families and stuff. That's all because I had a little one running around, too--because he makes people smile and comment about how cute or busy (or both) he is.
So it was a good day. I feel like going to worship on a Sunday morning is important, and having that consistency and that community is great, but at the same time--it's also great to just be out in the community and bring a bit of joy into people's lives, and ours. I think our son enjoyed being with us more than he does being in the nursery with strangers, too, so maybe this is just a time in life where meeting isn't the end-all and be-all of ways to worship.