Today, our neighbors got together for a gathering we’ve been trying to make more and more “regular.” We had 11 adults, 3 school-age kids, 1 toddler, and 2 babies running through our house today – and I loved just about every minute of it. This is unusual for me because after a couple of hours “entertaining” I usually need to crawl into a corner and take a nap!
That, however, is kinda the point. While the morning preparations to get the house ready for our afternoon whirlwind were of the “hey we’re entertaining today” variety – the gathering itself was anything but a “typical lunch/dinner party.”
First, folks tend to get along in this group – which makes things a lot easier during conversation.
Second, the kids all played together well (and have played together well for as long as they’ve known each other). The school-age kids are very careful around the babies and toddler, and actually love to spend time with them. When the older kids were rolling in the mud out in our back-yard, the babies had a blast in our playroom (which still has a lot of “baby friendly” toys in it for just such an occasion).
Third, when you get four or five baseball fans sitting in a room watching a game passionately – well, that to me is a bit of heaven. Seriously, I miss sharing a game with people, I need to do it more often.
Fourth, there’s no pressure with these people. They treat Jen and I like….people, which is refreshing. People are quite aware that I’m a pastor, and whenever we get together I often find myself explaining interesting things to the group (like what the transfiguration is to our Jewish friends who were heading to a Transfigurtation parish’s fund-raising dinner tonight). Yet, I don’t feel like I’m ever in the spotlight, which is a good thing. No pressure means, “I’m not entertaining” and that means I don’t have to be involved if I don’t want to be – and I often felt no need to be involved, so I wasn’t.
This was “community,” without having to name it – which is so nice. I catch glimpses of this will some folks at Central, but it’s hard to live like this in that environment where I’ll always be “the pastor.” Still, I’m grateful for the tastes I get of that with folks from Central – playing cards, spontaneous dinners, spending time down at the shore with some folks, chats while we’re dropping off kids at school. Still, I wish there was more of this type of thing at Central – of just simple, “Hey let’s get together and have a good time because we like each other.” More and more and more please.