The First of September

I greeted the first day of September behind tired eyes. Once awake, I could not fall back asleep. As it rained outside, I rolled out of bed and into a hot shower.

(I’m grateful for hot water, but even on its cold setting, the water is scolding.)

I wrote a list of things to do, but by the items on the list, I knew the morning would be lazy. The list included “eat breakfast,” after all. I did not accomplish much, and did not even put on what little daily makeup I wear until one in the afternoon. I put pasta in water and made mac and cheese.

But I glanced at the clock and knew my roommate was getting off work at three. I changed from a t-shirt into a dressier shirt and put on nicer jeans. I had agreed to go with my roommate to a leadership conference thing at a local church. The only catch? It was going to be all in Spanish.

But if there’s something going on at a church and I have someone to go with, I’d be game even if it were Bingo.

(Okay, especially if it were Bingo. I like Bingo. But old people Bingo, not like Bingo places. Even though I’ve never been to an actual Bingo place and have really only played Bingo at a nursing home and during half time of a high school basketball game, I feel like a Bingo place would overwhelm me. I’m getting off topic.)

If doors are open at a church, I’m game. So she and I jumped in her car and headed to the church. I dislike/like being the minority. I dislike it in that I feel completely out of place. But I like it because it reminds me to watch for people who might enter situations and feel out of place whenever I’m the majority. I think it is the “includer” in me.

There was a translation headset I was allowed to wear. It didn’t work for the first half hour; there was too much background fuzz noise. Once it started working, I was aware of a lot more of what was going on around me. The speaker was fun to listen to, and he made a lot of good points. All of what he said was relevant to my own ministry context.

He ended his session. Together the audience stood and we sang. I recognized the music, and though I did my best to sing the Spanish lyrics, I was still thinking of the English. I love singing worship music in a different language. I definitely always end up singing quieter and stumbling through the pronunciations, but I feel such a connection to the people around me as we are all praising one God. A God who is not bound by any language. To Him, we offer our praises. We come together and say, “Amen” which is the same in every language (though accents are different). Together, we agree with the words we just finished singing: Our God is greater, our God is stronger.

Tomorrow morning, I will join the congregation I worship alongside each week in a language I understand without translation, but today I was part of the body of Christ with people I barely knew and it was beautiful.

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