I think I'm actually feeling at home in a church again. It's been about 6 years since we left the last church where we had built friendships, settled into roles of ministry, and enjoyed fellowships. About a year and a half ago we found this church and while we enjoyed it right away, it still took a long time to feel at home. It is a very big church (2000 or so?) with three services, so there are many people that I have never met. And many of them have known each other for 30 years, so it's a bit hard to break into that way as well.
So tonight was the church picnic. I always want to go to these things, but as I'm arriving I have this tumultuous feeling that I'm going to get there and be sitting by myself talking to no one the entire time... especially if Robert isn't there with me when he has to leave town. Interestingly enough, I could entertain a good conversation with a tree, so I have not a blessed thing to worry about! As I arrived, I made a beeline for the first family I felt comfortable sitting with. Ah, once I have a home base, I know I'll survive the next couple of hours. But after the first 30 minutes, I never made it back there!
I mingled (my least favorite form of fellowship) for two hours without a lull. I visited with other moms, pastors, pastors' wives, teenagers! (wonder of wonders-that age group is NOT my gift!) and my kids' Sunday School teachers. I introduced myself to a couple of people I see often but have never spoken with. I borrowed a friend's towel, shared my kids lollipops, and made plans for a playdate. My kids played easily with children they knew and were comfortable with from their classes. Jacob ran off by himself for more than an hour with friends, and I just enjoyed casual conversation with different people for some time while little girls came by and took Mattie to play for awhile (I remember being one of those little girls who loved to "mommy" and thoroughly enjoying those little ones! I can't believe mine are those little ones now!). While I watched my kids in a water slide line (without me) with 30 others they were totally enjoying, I just stood there thinking, "I know a good portion of these people. I know their names, a bit about them, where they've been, and where they are, and their favorite way to minister. They know me, they love me and my family. Aaaah! I think we're finally settled in a church again!" I just felt familiar and it felt very settled. And I'm so glad I went.