I had a very good time out on Friday night. The house we were invited to was so nice -- exactly the kind of character house that I would love to live in, with modern updates and personal style. The couple that invited us over, Jeff and Britt, were such great hosts. We shared good conversation and laughs. It was a nice way to end a very long week.
I took my new friend Ibeth along with me. Ibeth is the new VIF teacher. She arrived in town only a week ago, and so is experiencing all the overwhelming chaos that I felt just seven weeks ago, except that she hasn't had as much time to transition and breathe at the same time, since school is already in session. She admits her frustration, but she's handling it all remarkably well. We went to Fayetteville yesterday and did some shopping, and she was over this afternoon to do some laundry. Ibeth is so appreciative of my help. It feels good to give it back to another person, because I know that I am thankful for all the support that others have shown me since my own arrival.
Today I did something I've been wanting to do since I arrived... I went to church. I'd been invited by some from work to accompany them at their respective churches, but there are just so many to choose from here, I had to give myself enough time and build some extra courage before I took anyone up on their offer. After leaving my own faith community back home (hard to do!), I suppose a part of me was and still is afraid that maybe I won't find a place that is just as wonderful! And another part of me (the selfish part) was enjoying my own little "sabbatical" after many years and many Sundays (though not as many as others reading!). The break was needed, especially in these last several weeks when everything else Monday - Friday was so busy! Still, as good as it is not to have to dress up and head out on Sunday mornings, it was just as nice to get to do those things on a bright day like today!
I made my way over to the United First Methodist in downtown Clinton. I was told by some of my faith family back home that the United Methodist denomination was supposed to similar to my UCC affiliations in Canada. Not very far off! I was greeted at the door right away by two very nice senior ladies who could quite literally have been plucked from the TMUC membership this morning. One of them insisted that I sit with her an her husband, which was a very nice gesture. I spotted a couple of familiar faces in sanctuary as those that I've met and work with through the school district. The service was light, friendly -- very much like what I'm used to. Even the hymns were familiar! The lady that I sat with said I sang very well and that if I was interested in the choir, she'd introduce me to the director. I don't know if I'm ready to join another choir right now and make those weekly rehearsals and have perfect Sunday attendance. (And also, I don't think I'd ever be able to find any choir quite as exceptional as the Carillons!) But it is nice to know that I'd be welcomed if I wanted to!
At one point during the service, I thought about my church family and friends back in Transcona, and it dawned on me that at that very moment (11 AM Eastern, 10 AM Central), we were doing the same thing! That was a comforting revelation. I left the church later with the promise that I would come back for another visit, and I plan to keep my word on that. It was great to spend that hour in a new, yet familiar environment. Definitely worth dressing up for. :o)