Day 79: Sunday: church the kids come home…

Beth had wanted a wakeup call and I woke up early and came downstairs about six. As usual, I was welcomed by Ivy, but she curled up on her pad and went back to sleep, she was fast asleep and stayed that way until eight, when I had to wake her to go outside before I left for church.

Wheaton was established when the United States was growing rapidly in the nineteenth century. It is largely a Christian town with Wheaton College and legend has it – more churches per capita than any other town in the United States. Wheaton was established by the Wheaton and Gary families who settled it west of Chicago. The railroad was given a right-of-way through town and it would develop as the county seat. The railroad line connected Chicago to Galena and which would later become part of the Transcontinental Railroad, which stretched across the continent and connected the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Our church, Gary Memorial United Methodist Church, was established in 1851 and the present building has been standing since 1931: a magnificent building that feels like a church. We have been attending since the summer of ’99. Our journey to Gary began oddly, but it is how God works that made our introduction. We decided to attend church one summer morning. We dressed and arrived at the church we had been attending just as the service was letting out. The church had changed its hours for the summer and had begun an hour earlier we had arrived late.  We still wanted to go to church and drove around town looking an eleven O’clock service; we ended up at Gary. It felt comfortable immediately; the following week a couple called on Beth and introduced themselves and Gary and we have been attending since. William’s Boy Scout Troop is based there and it, too, has a long history having been charted in 1912-1913. The church was an important part of the selection process for the Boy Scout troop. Yet, church is more than the physical building, it is the people that make it what it is and the two combined make for a meaningful experience.

Normally, we are late to church. I do not know why, perhaps it is getting ready, or just getting all of us ready, but we are late more than we are on time. This is not reserved for church, but other parts of our lives. I was late leaving and Beth called to me know she was on her way home and chided me about being late. I arrived in the middle of the opening hymn and joined in. During worship, I listen, but sometimes I get lost in my own thoughts and concerns. The summer’s theme, Tending the Garden, has been about reworking church and engaging more members and attracting new ones. Because we have been away, much of the summer, we have missed most of the services but today’s theme was “Getting Directions.” Today I listened and made connections, though they were about my concerns, so it was easy to follow along. The Words of Assurance preceded the sermon and struck a chord with me. I have been apprehensive about school and the change to a larger load of Language Arts. I just do not feel comfortable with the content as well as I did with social studies and there are changes in our school and education across the country, which worry me. But, today’s words spoke to me:

Words of Assurance – Hear the Good News: In Christ, God provides a new opportunity, a new path, a new life. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” from service bulletin Gary Memorial United Methodist Church 8/15/10

I took this to heart; trust in the Lord, he has a plan. Just do it, have faith. That was what I heard. It was just what I needed to get the year started. Monday, I have meetings with the IPEA – Indian Prairie Education Association and Executive Board and Tuesday I will work in my classroom to get it put together or at least on its way. Wednesday we have a family day in the city and a Cubs game it should be fun. But, the words I heard were truly speaking to me and I listened. The day’s readings had to do with getting directions, following them, and reaping the rewards. So, I listened and made connections.

Ivy plays ball in the backyard.

After church, I made a quick trip to the grocery for a few items and came home. Ivy woke when I came in the door and she was happy to go outside and lay in the sunlight. The weather had shifted and it was drier and warm, like the baby bear –just right. It was be a beautiful day. I worked and did planned. I called my mom and Julie and got updates from my travelers along their journey. They stopped at Dutch Farm Market, the stopped at an outlet mall, and they were caught in traffic coming back into Chicago. When they finally arrived, Ivy and I were in the backyard playing ‘ball’ when Olivia came running around the side yard and William came through the house. Ivy was so excited to see them, you could see it as she jumped and ran around.

We unpacked the car, had dinner, and unwound. Beth and the kids had been in the car most of the day and it wears you out. It does not seem as if it would, but it does. The energy had shifted and the house was a home again. The past week Ivy and I had had the ‘doghouse’ to ourselves. It had been quiet and peaceful, but with William, Olivia, and Beth home it was home again and the energy was high. William found a new puzzle I had bought and played it, challenging himself. Olivia played office and listened to me as I read a book to her. Beth skimmed through the newspaper looking at ads and reading articles, and the night descended on us. William went to bed, Beth followed him upstairs, and I tucked Olivia in bed with the nightly reminder ‘sleepy tight, and she responded as I said ‘don’t let the bedbugs bite.’

I read a little bit from Guys Write for Guys Read before turning out the light and I was soon asleep. It had been a good day and one that surely counted. I have just three days of summer left. Making the Days Count, one day at a time.

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