Well, not always. Not even most of the time. But sometimes.
We haven’t met for a month. That wasn’t planned, but between Christmas, a lot of sickness, and a new baby, that’s the way it happened.
Sometimes we call ourselves the Angry Doubters. Or the Awkwards. We are people in very different places in our spiritual journeys. But all on journeys, and all trying to travel together.
Tonight, one family came early and brought us a much-welcomed gift: a pick-up load of firewood from a tree that blew down in their yard in November. After everyone else arrived, we shared a potluck supper.
We have four kids three and under, and two on the autism spectrum. So we are virtually never all at the table at the same time. Small children wander around during meal time. Adults hover near the table holding children, adults chase children, a mom breaks away to nurse.
Usually, we manage to connect a little better after supper. The kids play together, the adults gather around the fire with coffee or tea. But not tonight.
One child fell down the stairs. Another was standing behind a door when someone opened it, planting the doorknob in his forehead. A third periodically let loose with shattering screams, chased cats and laid into the dog with a toy sword. Potty accidents. Fights. Perpetual motion. And most of the adults were pretty well done before we started—the effects of one new baby, two hard Christmases, and lots of sickness.
So we were never able to collectourselves enough to read or discuss a chapter of Mark, which we are (were? will be?) reading together. In fact we were never even able to collect ourselves enough to have one single conversation. But there were various smaller conversations going on in the midst of the bedlam and around the edges. Milton’s Paradise Lost. Solzhenitsyn. How the new mom is doing. The ups and downs of Christmas. The significance of our tattoos. Videos one family is using that are helping their two autistic boys with their language skills. The relentless assault of media, social and other, on our interior space, and ways to shut it off and tune it out.
And that’s the best we could manage tonight. But it was good to be (almost) all together again after a month, we’ll see each other individually through the week, and we’ll gather for supper together again, Lord willing, next Saturday evening.