Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Meetings R Us, or at least R Me

COLD again here in Prairie Metropolis, even in full sun midafternoon the temperature never got above zero Fahrenheit; and it's RAW. Frost on the cars, enough frost on the roads to make them greasy in the intersections. Always fun.

I had a 10 a.m. meeting scheduled with an ecumenical group in my end of the city -- opposite direction from Most Holy and Undivided. To complicate matters -- I had a NOON meeting with an overlapping ecumenical group in the same venue -- and a bundle of information to share, awaiting pickup at the Big Boss Church downtown. One of those mornings when one makes a whole series of bad judgement calls. Decided to drive downtown before the first meeting. Left too late. Got caught up in conversation en route. Resoundingly late for the first meeting, but provided with my handouts for the second one.

Our host at the meetings provided Real Coffee, thereby honouring his cultural and theological background: Real Coffee rather than Pale Ecclesiastical Dishwater as usually served in most places including, alas, this one.

Maybe it was the caffeine; but by the time the second meeting got going, at least two of us at the table (both women, which was interesting) were on a complete tear. Somewhere in the novel David Harum, one of the characters is described as "a harmless kind of putterin' old foozle," a phrase that fits more than one of the folks I was meeting with, all too painfully well. In fact Putterin' Old Foozle-tude has just about brought this group to extinction over the last few years.

Today, we refused to let it take over. We made suggestions, we made decisions, we cut to the chase, we ran away with the meeting in fact...the other participants looked either delighted or stunned... and we were adjourned and OUT in time that I didn't have to break the speed limit to get to Commitment #3, a nursing-home service on the far side of town.

Thanks be to God, the world's BEST volunteers had conveyed the Big Communion Kit to the nursing home for me (it was complicated)...we had 18 people present and 3 fine Christmas hymns (hey, we're still in the Octave of Epiphany, we can do this)...the coffee was still working, I think, too--"preaching" on these occasions is always a challenge, but I'm learning. Tell'em a story, tell'em about children in church, make'em laugh. So I told 3 kids-in-Christmas-pageant stories: the little boy who summed up Christmas as "In spite of everything, Jesus got borned"; the little girl who couldn't see the manger and shouted out, "Let Jesus show! You have to let Jesus show!" (thank you, Frederick Buechner). And in the middle I told the story of the little boy who said the wise men brought "gold, commonsense, and beer."

This all went down well, and nobody wandered off in the middle, and the two elderly sisters who generally fight each other were not present this afternoon, so we didn't have to stop and separate them... and I even found a parking slot close to the entrance, enough to make one's day all by itself.

ONE MORE MEETING ... THERE'S ONE MORE MEETING TO CROSS, no, sorry, that was "rivers."

We have staff review here in an hour and a half for our Music Director; combined with budget approval for our music ministry (he needs and would like an Organist-Assistant); some other pre-Vestry and pre-Annual General Meeting matters to nail down, and the old woman may get home tonight after all (cf. the old nursery rhyme, do you remember? "Pig won't get over the stile, and I sha'n't get home tonight"...STORY OF MY LIFE!


Jan said...

Good coffee--I'm glad. You are a good meeting person; I'm not. Guess we do what is our "destiny." (vocation?)

Crimson Rambler said...

I'm LEARNING to be a decent meeting person, after many years wasted, sulking and fuming. It's a "personal growth" area for me still, though.