It’s Wednesday. You know what that means — Bible study.
I am not sure why I feel such a draw to this group, but I do. Perhaps it’s the sequence of events that led me to these ladies (see “One Thing Leads to Another” if you are interested). Maybe it’s the fact that this is the first group in Ann Arbor that is ‘mine’, not my husband’s. Maybe it’s the fact that the actual study we are doing is pretty spot-on relevant to my life at the moment. But I want you to know that after five weeks I am scheduling trips, appointments, and (potential) work around it.
Twenty-one ladies if we are all there. That’s a pretty large group, so I don’t know everyone yet. There are typically 16-18 in attendance, and we had been keeping our discussion time all together in one large group, so some people didn’t speak (or have a turn to speak). Last week we broke into two discussion groups and that allowed for more of the ladies to speak and be heard. We decided to shuffle the groups each week so that we could all get to know one another.
What’s weird is that the group has been going for, I don’t know, eight or nine years and I don’t feel like a newbie or like I don’t belong. I was welcomed right in as one of the family. That’s it. That’s why I am so drawn to this group. They didn’t look at me suspiciously and wonder how I was going to change the group. They embraced me. Literally and figuratively. And I like it!
I’m not the only one who is drawn to this group, of course. Some of these ladies have to overcome enormous obstacles just to attend every week. One is caring for her husband who has Alzheimer’s — she has to arrange for someone to come into the house and stay with him while she is gone. Another had a major car accident last summer and is just now beginning to walk with just a cane; she has been there every week except the week of her brother’s funeral! Another has some kind of problem with her eyesight; she has to arrange a ride each week. One dear woman drives herself, parks in the spot marked with handicapped sign, and then takes ten minutes with her walker to get to her designated spot around the table. One has three school-aged children. You get the point. These women are committed to getting to this group!
And you can almost feel the “Ahhhhhhhh!” each releases as she walks through the door and finds her place at the table. Our leader makes a point to spread a tablecloth over the two plastic folding churchy banquet tables. Sometimes someone brings a bouquet of flowers to put in the center. One gal brings cookies or muffins to share; another brings some type of fruit. We have decorative paper plates and mismatched napkins. An urn of coffee and another of hot water are at the ready.
We pray collectively, with each given an opportunity to lift her burden or the burden of someone else. We discuss the study we have completed through the week inserting relevant (or not so relevant) commentary. We watch our video lesson. We chat and hug and say goodbye until next week.
It’s a refueling station. Each woman determines to get herself there by 9:30 am so that she can leave refreshed 11:30 am, ready to face whatever is in her path for the next six days and twenty-two hours. And although I am not facing much in my own path at the moment, I definitely need the refueling. Ahhhhhhh….Wednesday.
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another…