Today, there was so much to write about I was stuck!

  • Caucusing (a great experience)
  • The State of the Union (probably tomorrow because I’m ticked)
  • General tomfoolery at school (typical for February)

But today, it’s about building community. My wife and I are singers (my wife more than myself), and we look for opportunities where we can do this together. We’ve sung Handel’s Messiah with a community choir the previous 5 years, but missed it this year. While it’s not an exciting piece, it great to be in a place where everyone is focused on making the best music possible.

Because we missed this year’s event, we jumped at an opportunity given to us by a former music teacher to sing in their “community” choir on Saturday. She called it “Draw the Circle Wide” where they opened their church choir (which is a group of very talented singers) to the public. We got an email about it a couple of weeks ago and decided this sounded like “fun”. I know, singing isn’t for everyone, but we do love it.

The problem is, it isn’t in our normal community. That’s been the tough part of our lives lately, being part of many communities. My wife and I both have our school communities, we have our own church community and our singing community in the neighboring town. We are in that sweet spot age-wise where our kids are out of the house, but there aren’t grandkids, so opportunities to get out are usually few and far between. We have a card club we play in, but most of them are 10 years younger, all with elementary/middle school kids. They are an awesome fun group of people, so we did have to make a decision. This time, singing won! We canceled on the card club (same night) and sang.

We enjoyed our experience greatly. We sang some great songs, laughed and got teary with some of the music, ate some great soup (the church fed us), and performed for a packed house. In the YouTube video, we are performing the first two songs, I’m in men’s number towards the end of the video, and the last two songs.

On Sunday,  we helped at our church’s “Souper Bowl”. We have an annual soup lunch fundraiser and this year, we had 14 different soups to offer. It was a fun way to again, build community because our little church is dying a slow painful death. Our last three out of four pastors have done nothing to advance our church, and in fact, have caused our membership to shrink. We are old, getting older, with no new members on the horizon at all. But, for those hours on Sunday, the basement was full of delicious smelling food, laughter, and the presence of God.

As I look at these to seemingly unrelated events, it just shows how much we (all of us) need to step outside our comfort zones to build those relationships. Sometimes, you need to go sing to see the good in people. Sometimes, service makes the spirit stronger. And sometimes, a bowl of soup can power your soul through the toughest of times. As you go through your week, see those spots where you can step up and step out.

You never know whose day you’ll make by serving someone else!