Sunday wasn’t the easiest day for me. In spite of getting to spend the day with my beloved and truly amazingly awesome and shockingly patient and loving nuclear family – I was not where I wanted to be.
I wanted to be at Saint Stephen. But I didn’t just want to be at the church. I wanted to be surrounded by and immersed in our vibrant Christian community.
I wanted to be matching wits with my Sunday school class. I wanted to be passing the peace. I wanted to be singing God’s praises with my sisters and brothers in Christ. I wanted to sit with the children of our Christian community for the children’s sermon. I wanted to share the Good News of God’s grace, love, and mercy with you. I wanted to officiate Holy Communion. I wanted to receive Holy Communion. I wanted to hang out with everyone in the fellowship hall after worship just so we could talk and be together. I wanted to be with my people, and I really wanted to hear how you are all doing!
Quite simply – I wanted to be with all of you – really – really badly.
In spite of being at home. I realized that I was feeling seriously homesick!
I wanted my life – our lives – to be carrying on like they have for over nine years now. (I am one of those people who stink at change. I am “change averse.” I go the bed at the same time 7 days a week. I have literally knit the same washcloth pattern over 1,000 times.)
I was restless and just plain not very happy. I am sure that the McFarland men found me rather annoying. (Thankfully – for the future happiness and continued success of – what I hope will be our ongoing relationships – they refrained from telling me just how annoying I was!)
So – we played games like Yahtzee and Scrabble. (Jack and Will skunked me!) We did some yard work. I played on the swing set in our back yard with Will. (I have to say – adults should probably go swinging more often – it feels great!) Will and I played “Simon Says.” Jason and I read. Jack and Will did not read. Will made Lego ships. Jack made art. I did some knitting.
And then we went to Broad Run Park later in the afternoon. The paved trails there mean that Jack and Will can absolutely fly on their skateboard and scooter. Sadly – the paved trails don’t make me any faster. I remain a middle aged pastor, but hey you can’t win them all!
We walked, scootered, and skateboarded for a bit and then we headed to the river to look for river glass. I have had a thing for looking for sea glass or river glass or lake glass since I was a kid, and I have converted/convinced/brainwashed my family that this is a cool pastime.
It was just what I needed to soothe my tattered soul. Wandering along the muddy, rocky shore of the river I soon I felt much more peaceful and centered. I noticed the signs of spring literally springing up all around me. I heard the birds singing. I heard the distant voices of other families getting some fresh air. I watched the muddy water flowing in the river. I observed my sons and my husband and was reminded of what incredible blessings from God they truly are (just don’t tell them I told you that!). I found broken, busted up pieces of glass that had been smoothed by the tumbling river water. I remembered that God was with me all of the time.
I know it is cliché – but I found myself singing softly to myself “when peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say, it is well with my soul . . . “
“When Peace Like a River” has always been one of my favorite hymns. And as I was singing it to myself – I realized I could hear my sisters and brothers in Christ singing it right along with me. I could hear Brenda playing. I could hear Matt and Lori right behind me in church singing. I could hear Bill and Fred singing and Charlie and Phyllis too. I could hear Pat, Paul, Rod, Cheryl, Bobby, Clint, and Rita joining in from the other side of the sanctuary along with Marilyn and Steve and Karen and Glenn. I could hear Buddy and Peggy and Elaine and Marcia from my side of the church . . . I could hear ALL of you (I miss you all so much I thought about listing all of you – but then decided that maybe I was getting a little weird). I could hear all of you – because I have literally worshipped with you 100’s of times and we have sung 1,000’s of hymns together.
We are a vibrant, loving, blessed Christian community. I truly do give God thanks for each and every single one of you. I am thinking of you and I am praying for you. You are in my heart.
We will gather together in person for worship again. In the meantime – I truly do pray that it is well with your souls. And remember – our loving Lord is with us always – holding us in the palm of his hand.
In Christ and with Love –