It is days like this when I realize how deeply I will miss this place.
My day started like any normal Tuesday. I got up and got ready for work, and then came over to the church. I checked e-mail and looked at my calendar to see what was coming up for the day, then I walked down the hall for the area pastor text study. Our happy group of Lutheran pastors, and token Methodist, were already beginning to gather in the classroom. I sat down (not in my usual seat, because it was taken... Grrrr....) and we began our discussion of the texts for this Sunday. I really have enjoyed getting to know this group. They are mostly progressive thinking type people, but those who are not so progressive still feel as if they can speak up within the group. We all get along pretty well, and I appreciate their humor and insight and collective wisdom. Sure, there are days when we don't talk a whole lot about the text at hand, but truth be told, those are some of my favorite days.
However, I had to leave early for the second day of water ski day camp. So I drove out to the park and joked around with the kids, we said a prayer, then the three youth who were present went onto the boat with Capt. Jack, and the other two adults present and I sat down for a game of Scrabble. Which I won. Then after a good lunch of hot dogs and chips and soda and candy and fruit, three more youth arrived. So five kids and Capt. Jack went on the boat and the sixth youth (who was not interested in skiing) joined us for a game of Scrabble. I didn't win this one. But it was a good time to sit and talk and have a relaxing time. There was work involved... preparing and cleaning up and leading Bible study... but the in-between times were fun.
Then we left the park and I came home. I checked my e-mail and lounged around for a bit before changing my shoes and heading out to the neighborhood middle school to cheer on the church softball team. We lost (by only two points) but it was fun and I had a good time cheering with the rest of the troublemakers. This has been a fun experience. I know I posted a while back about how I was afraid to play for the team, due to my lack of ball hitting/catching ability, but this team was nowhere close to "needing" to win as I had thought. In fact, most of the time they were resigned to losing, but went out to have a great time, anyway. We were the most age and gender diverse team. Most of the other churches stacked their team with younger and bigger men. We had people all the way from 12 to 60 out there on the field. It was a great intergenerational experience, and I'm glad I got to be a part of it, if I mostly did cheering from the sidelines and (sometimes) saying some slightly out of line comments.
After the softball game, I went out to eat with three members of the church. PD (Pastor's Daughter... I thought I'd translate because I haven't redone my link for my Who's Who post yet), myself and two members of the Goodtime family. I'm calling them the Goodtime because most any time spent with this family is a good time. There are three Goodtime brothers that are members of the church. All three are married. The is R and B Goodtime, K and P Goodtime and T and C Goodtime. B Goodtime is the liaison to the council for the youth committee, and has been out at water skiing off and on. She has a 6 year old son who I think is the greatest. Way back at St Patrick's Day when we were getting ready for the dance, she brought her son along, and that sidetracked me from being able to help out at all. Anyway, it was K and P Goodtime that we went out to eat with. They are just a hoot, and we've decided that even thought softball is over, we'll still have to do something on either Tuesday or Thursday nights.
After supper, PD and I went out to another family from church's house. We visited their farm kittens (I named two of them: Bojangles and Lump), and then played a fun game called Apples to Apples. It's the party game of the year. Says so on the box, so it must be true. And it's an amazing time sucker. If you have three hours that you need to kill, just grab some people and play this game. They'll go by quickly.
So now, sitting here, I can easily remember being that nervous guy who knew nobody and wondered what the hell he was doing coming to this strange town and trying to be the intern pastor to these strange people. Now, although I sometimes still wonder what the hell I'm doing, I see all these great people who I enjoy and love and want to spend time with. Sure, some of them are strange - who am I kidding? MOST of them are strange- but they've nestled quite nicely into my heart. It's a pretty good fit.
I hope that nyi (next year's intern) has a nice spot in his heart to put them.
And he better take damn good care of them.