It's a beautiful sunny Sunday morning in mid-September. The skies are clear blue, and the weatherman promises a 30 C afternoon.
For the past 3 or 4 years, I've spent nearly every early Sunday morning (6 am and onward) downtown at the street ministry breakfast gathering. It's been the center of my church family. A few weeks ago the street pastor announced that he needs to take a break, and that the breakfasts will be cancelled until ... well until he is ready to return. In a few months, perhaps.
A friend and I are still going walkabout downtown on Tuesday morning, visiting with our street family members, sharing some breakfast-on-the-go goodies, that sort of thing. And I visit some of the street family at their places or where I happen to bump into them, from time to time.
And I still have "Wednesday soup and sandwiches" at my house. My Tuesday morning friend and some others drop in and we enjoy our time together. Very casual, often picnic-style in the back yard, no agenda or plan. Just trusting Father to lead the way He wants.
But my street family friends rarely if ever come. Perhaps because it's a long walking distance from where most of them live. Perhaps because they feel uncomfortable coming into my house, which is no doubt a bit more middle class than they're used to. That makes me feel kind of sad.
They used to drop by my place when we lived downtown, and it was bigger and fancier than our little townhouse now. On the other hand, it faced onto an alley rather than a tree--lined residential street. It's a odd thing, I think, how we classify people and places by their environment, without bothering to really check them out.
But I digress. I have to admit that I'm sometimes lonely. I really miss my downtown family. It's a long walk for me too. I got myself a bike and a bike trailer so it would be closer. I guess I should just get on it and go, right?
Of course I have my excuses. It's been hot and sunny, and the doctor says I'm to stay out of the sun, seeing as I have a history of melanoma. My hubby works nights on-call, and I'm needed at home to answer the phone when his work calls (he sleeps right through phones ringing :-) ). I have other things to do, like my blogs and tutoring and house keeping. And being available to babysit my beautiful grandbabies when I'm needed. And the street pastor worries about me, and tells me not to go on the streets by myself. Though it's never worried me. Still...
All my life, pretty near, Sunday was for church. Even when I really wasn't following God, and had to go hung-over and all - though there was a period of time in my 20s when mostly I just didn't go. But, as you'll know if you've explored this site at all, I haven't "gone to church" for several years. On the other hand, I had my street church family and for a long time that was mostly more "real church" than I'd known in the past.
Then about a year ago it seemed to start turning more and more into pretty much "just breakfast." I think the pastor still did a lot of counseling and caring, and I think the family appreciated us being there and all. But most of the prayer and discussion and all just kind of petered out. Maybe it was partly "my fault" because I was struggling with some pretty deep depression and for a long time could only go sporadically and mostly just sit there wrapped up in my own little space. And its taken a long time for me to move out of that space.
But now ... now I want to interact. To share. To care. To serve (beyond just preparing and serving food, and cutting hair, and such). Actually, that is serving, I suppose. But I want something more. I want to talk about Jesus. And talk to him together with others. And that just doesn't seem to be happening.
I feel cut off.