Yesterday, my family and I arrived at the meetinghouse right on time for worship, and my husband ran in to help lead music. I, however, did not arrive until at least five minutes in, and it hit me as I took my seat how grateful I am to be part of the community at North Valley Friends because of all the reasons that made me late.
First, I was getting something out of the trunk when a Friend drove up and stopped to chat. She offered to loan us a 3/4 size guitar for my boys to learn on, a loaner we can keep as long as we like. Just that morning, my 8-year-old had been saying he wants to be able to do something to help in worship, and asking to take his full-size guitar to worship practice with his dad. He's been working hard to learn chords, but it's pretty challenging on a full-size guitar with hands his size, so this was a perfect and timely gift.
I pulled a bag of clothes out of the trunk to take to the ReThreads shed, a drop-off site for used clothes. ReThreads is open to North Valley folk as well as the rest of the community. A group of people from North Valley sort all the donations left in their storage shed, put them on hangers, and take them to a two-room "store" next to our meetinghouse. Last summer, they spent time fixing up the "store," painting it inside and out, adding decorations, and making the place inviting. My sons had long since run in to the meetinghouse for worship.
Before I could make it to the ReThreads drop-off, I saw someone in the parking lot to whom I was going to give a flat of onions. This summer, our community garden has expanded to not just the garden space on the meetinghouse property, but also to a coordinated effort with all the gardens of North Vally people who want to be involved. Each person is in charge of a particular crop, and we'll bring our produce to share with one another throughout the summer. Since I don't have room in my yard to grow a bunch of different crops, this is so exciting! I'm waiting in anticipation of what delightful produce will be shared, and I'm excited to share my own small offering.
To get to the flat of onions I had to move aside a bike rack we're loaning to some Friends for the week. We have an e-group at North Valley, and probably at least once a week there are emails requesting to borrow things and offering to give things away or sell them, in addition to emails about births, deaths, weddings, community news, and notifications about North Valley events. We've benefited from this e-group many times, and it's great when we can also help supply someone else's need.
I finally got to drop off my used clothes at ReThreads and went inside, where I found one son munching baked goods in the foyer. We get day-olds sometimes from a local bakery, and I picked up a loaf of bread to take home to nourish our family for the week. Meanwhile, I chatted with two wonderful ladies whose lives intersect with mine not often, but deeply.
By this point I had thoroughly lost my children. I went into the meeting space and looked around, confusedly, before a Friend pointed toward the children's wing. I went to check on them, and they were already in their "places of worship," engrossed in that work and at home in their place.
I returned to the adult meeting space and joined the song.