Well I did it! I went on the coffee date. The ice, as they say, has been broken. If the criteria for a successful date includes closing the coffee shop (okay, it was Saturday and they do close early) and both of us agreeing that this was a positive enough experience that we want to do it again, I guess it was a success! The two hours and change passed very quickly. We laughed a lot. Some at ourselves for being nervous about this date. We found we have things in common including both having more than one book going at any given time, not being particularly given to regular TV watching, singing in the car, and not suffering fools. We both like to travel and would rather do it on backroads than interstates, and think the homogenizing of America is a sad thing. This seems like kind of a good start. I was left with the feeling that this is a person I could be friends with, have fun going to dinner with now and again. Just a nice guy, as I suspected about him all along.
The church interview also went well. She scribbled as fast as we talked. I made sure to get in that this was all grounded in our beliefs and part of a larger picture of our church. I hope that makes it in...I want people to know we have a mission here! She borrowed some of the photos we have of the community center in Rwanda and took pictures of our "mission corner" where we have our boxes of books we are collecting to send to them as well as our local food shelf basket, our change jar for the priest's discretionary fund, the "Soles for Souls" box to collect shoes that the Diocese is sponsoring and all of our general MDG information. It's a pretty cool spot, and the first thing you see when you come in the door to St. J's. Gives a good message I think.
So now I'm just waiting for my friend to arrive. I'm hoping to get in a short visit before it's time to go do the nursing home service at 3:30. Sometimes timing just doesn't all work out. She's on her way home from visiting her brother and "passing through" and I know she won't want to wait until I'm done. But I wouldn't want to pass on doing that service. At first I was not so sure I felt comfortable there, but the more I do it, the more I like it. It is one of the few chances some of these folks get to have worship and you can tell how much it feeds them. This is a volunteer effort of the ministerium and we have a scheduled rotation. But one of the aides told me that sometimes people fail to show up on their Sundays, or their services are a little perfunctory. I was kind of blown away, I guess. I think I'd rather have people just say they were not willing to be on the roster than do that. I'm actually thinking of asking if they'd like me to take a few more times during the year. As it stands now it's like three times a year. I think I could do a couple more...it's not that big a deal. And I am after all a liturgical geek. Any time, anywhere...want a service? Call me! And this is kind of fun, because I get to go "off-book" since its a general sort of non-denominational type service with no Eucharist. I even get to be creative and write prayers and everything! Woo-hoo!
I did make it to the jail last night. L is doing a little better. He has gotten a card or two and that has lifted his spirits. He also has had a visit from the new lady in his life. It seems that the old plan of outside life and inside life never touching is not working so well this time and he seems to be adjusting to that. He was not so hard and cold and even laughed and joked with me like the L of old. It's his birthday on Thursday and he asked for a cake with a file! I told him I thought a card would have to do as I was not street smart enough to pull it off and I would probably end up over on the women's side of the jail and then the church would have to send me cards!
I just heard that my friend is about to hit town, so the day sails on. Life is abundant and God is good. Grace most certainly abounds.