All of the empty places that were left behind when the relationship ended are filling up very quickly all of a sudden. I was offered a position that I had applied for last summer. I’ll juggle it with my current position to complete the school year. Than I’ll transition to the new job full-time.
I also received a call last week from Doris. She is the facilitator of a singles group at church called “You Are Not Alone” or YANA. She created the group 25 years ago to offer support and companionship to people 40 and over who are single, divorced or widowed. During the years, 49 marriages have been created from members within the group. She was teasing that one more couple should marry before she retires from the group on April 9th.
Doris phoned to ask if I would think about facilitating the group. I felt very honored that she would consider me. I’m one of the newer members to the group and to the community. But she assured me that she has complete faith in my abilities. So on Tuesday evening, Doris made the announcement to the group of 20 that had gathered. Then she turned to me and all but handed me the reins. And off we went. As a group we discussed activities that the members would like to incorporate into our gatherings. I suggested that we have the new pastor come and speak to the group during a meeting in April. One of the men asked if dessert would still be a part of the meetings. Each week for twenty-five years, Doris graced the singles group with home-made desserts often still warm from her oven. Bread puddings, frosted brownies and scads of cookies and bars. I assured everyone that dessert would indeed continue to be a part of the fellowship. Several of the women stepped forward to offer their talents after Doris reminded everyone that I work full-time and shouldn’t do that on my own.
Before the meeting closed, we had a new call list constructed, a list of activities to incorporate into our gatherings and a brand new excitement rustling through the members. As the evening came to a close I remained behind with Doris to straighten the room and clean the coffee maker. I thanked Doris for her vote of confidence in me and shared that I hope she’ll still be a part of the group. She replied that she just wants to stay home and watch tv. But as we were walking to the parking lot, she said she’d be happy to bake for me.
When I woke this morning I began making preparations for an Appreciation Dinner for Doris’ last official group meeting. I spoke with the church secretary to reserve the dining area and scheduled a meeting with the pastor for next week. I drew up a draft of April activity ideas. Then I packed my suitcase and headed for Iowa. It’s time to visit my family and friends during the rest of my spring break.
The five-hour drive felt more like a half an hour today. My mind is so busy with my new job starting on Monday. And the singles group and of course Easter! I called Tammy as I pulled into town and we met for pizza at Godfather’s. My oldest son was just finishing classes at the college and met us there too. Afterward I did a little shopping and arrived to meet Hunter getting off the school bus. Perfect timing!
This evening was a whirlwind as all of my children gathered at my daughter’s for dinner. She had spent the afternoon cooking a feast. Once Hunter and my granddaughter finished eating they trotted off to play while we all talked and reminisced.
Things have changed drastically for me over the past two weeks. Where there had been so much sadness, the crying has stopped. Where there were long empty afternoons and evenings, life has provided companionship and socialization and fulfilling work. There are no more empty places. God has heard your prayers and mine. I had to look very hard at first for the faith it took to make those early steps forward through the pain. But I did reach the other side. Thank you all for holding my hand and showing me the way.