My first band concert (in a long time)

Today was my first band concert and what turns out to be almost 7 years!

I played my last band concert with the previous community band I was in in August of 2008 just before I started med school.  That was 6 and ½ years ago.

This makes me feel super old.

And so does this band sometimes.

As I said before, it is a “feeder” band and is mostly made up of junior high and high school students and their parents and then people like me who used to play in band but haven’t in a while.  So, the band that I often call the “good” band often calls us “the kids.”  Funny enough there is an age range in our band that I am smack in the middle of (although in near the older edge of that, I think).

The concert went fantastically.  The “good” band is AMAZING.  I could listen to them all day and they remind me of a somewhat better version of the band I played in in university.  The band I’m in played really well, and I think our sound was great even though many of our pieces are on the simpler side of things.

Patrick came and cheered me on like the awesome husband he is.

I remembered how much I missed performing in this kind of setting.  I’m so glad I am doing this and plan to keep on with it even after the baby and residency inclusive if both let me.

Also, speaking of baby and band, I am finally starting to look a little pregnant and not just fat.  As a result, I was stopped by an older man in the “good” band this afternoon on my way to the bathroom before the concert and he asked me if I was one of the kids in the 9am band.  I told him am in the 9am band (and refrained from the kid question).  And he asked again, are you one of the kids or are you older, so I told him I’m older, like way out of high school older.  He told me that was good because his wife pointed out to him that I was pregnant and they were concerned if I was a kid (or something like that… I was busy being puzzled by what was happening to get the exact wording).  I told him I’m happily married, have a career and am a good 10 years or more older than the “kids”.

It made me laugh pretty hard.  Partly because that was a bold statement (I could just be fat and I could be a teenager) and partly because I couldn’t believe that conversation really just happened.

Patrick took me out for a quick supper on the way home, so that I can spend my evening focusing on studying (and procrastinating while writing this blog post… whoops).

Reuniting With Some Favourites

I had the best weekend.

We spent time with the core group from our small group from when we lived on that lovely island for med school.  The 7 of us were together for basically 3 years and other people came and went.  It is the first time we were ALL together in 2 years.  I have been looking forward to this time, since I found out it would happen in May.

There are people that life is simple with.  There are people that, for introverts like me, barely count as people.  Who you can just exist with and not feel completely drained.  The kind of people you can just pick up where you left off and hardly miss a beat.

These are those people. 

We went to Magic Mountain, a pretty awesome water park.  We played mini golf.  We made up our very own road trip game to drive to one couple’s home complete with mid-trip car switches.  We stayed up until 2 in the morning playing Sing Star and were up and off to the races again at 10.  We explored a market and watched Highland games.  We grocery shopped and went to games stores.  We BBQed and lounged around just talking for hours.  We played a million new board games until almost 2 in the morning again.  We went to church, we went to lunch and had a great discussion.  

I barely took any pictures except at the Highland games.  

I love that we can be real with each other.  Really, truly honest and open about where we are.  That we can talk about tough stuff.  And in the next breath crack jokes about being “tied and pleasured” (long story).

It was a full weekend.

I was sad it was over.  

We are blessed to have many good friends.  Despite that, we have been feeling discouraged because we don’t have as many close friends where we live currently (but we still have a few we are attached at the hip to), but part of that is because it is so rare to have the kind of friendships we have with this crew we spent the weekend with.  God provided us with great people when we needed them in a certain way and I know He is doing the same here, just in different ways.  It has been a slow go feeling like we are a part of things here.  And part of that is because it was so easy when we were there.  And maybe that is because we needed it to be at that time.

Community stretches you and grows you.  Spending time with what was our main community was amazing.  And comforting.  And a true testament to how awesome God is.  Our church here encourages community, and I can sense the community, but it is bigger and broader than what I once knew in some ways and the relationships, like people are different.  But, then again, so are we.  It is a good thing.  

I am thankful for full weekends.  And friends who change and yet stay the same.  And for the comfort that comes from really loving and knowing people.

We get to go away with some other very special friends this weekend.    People we have known and loved much of our lives. I am super excited.  So, really, we are very fortunate.  Two awesome weekends in a row!

I have a musical interlude for this post.  A song that was stuck in my head the whole weekend and, well, is still stuck in my head.  It isn’t quite about amazing friends or community and yet, in some ways, it fits because of the concept of coming together.  

Our New Friend (you just can’t make this stuff up)

Patrick and I made a new friend today.

We were on church set-up today, which is basically assembling the place to look like our version of a church (during the week it is a mission) and then cleaning up afterward.  Also, it involves the important task of going to the hipster hostel café down the street to pick up coffee and then return the containers afterwards.

On our way back with the coffee, we got stopped by a random man standing in the doorway of a closed shop.

Oh, I should probably mention at this point that we go to church in what is known as a super dicey part of town.

I like it.  It makes me feel at home (because at home-home, we go to church in a super dicey part of town).  You just never know who or what is going to wander in through the doors.  As much as I am terribly shy, I love some of the personalities and honesty that can come in the door in.  I also think that loving people where they are at is so important, just like anywhere else, but in this place, some of the people unfortunately don’t get as much love.

So, this guy who is kind of looking a bit in disarray stops us.  He has no teeth.  His beard forms a single dreadlock.  He has terrible leg swelling to the point where one shoe has no laces and his foot barely fits in it.  He has a lovely smile.

He tells us that he isn’t asking us for money or food or something because he doesn’t do that sort of thing.  He wants to read us a letter he is writing to his girlfriend.  His girlfriend of 25 years.  Who he dated when he was a teenager.

He hauls out a piece of paper.  On one side is a ton of numbers.  On the other is writing.

It is simply written in block letters.  Some of the tenses of verbs are wrong, some words are misspelled.  He reads us every word.   It is a slow go.  As much as the actual writing isn’t the best, it is pretty deep poetry.  The thought behind it is lovely.

He tells us he is going to make it into a song and chats with us about his blind and lame grandfather who was an amazing piano player and who he gets his musical ability from.  He talks a bit about love.

Then, he starts walking with us and eventually turns off down an alley.

We laughed because that is the beauty of this community.  We were stopped to be read poetry.  That’s all. Most people would have ran or kept walking for fear of what was going to happen.  But really, we got slightly more snowy and much more happy.

After church, we were returning the canisters the coffee was in and we passed the same guy playing a purple children’s guitar on the corner.  He sounded really good.  He picks with his nails, not with a pick (this always impresses the face off of me).

He spotted us and ran across the street to say hi.

Again, he told us he plays and sings for the love of it, not to make money.  He often plays at home on his own, but it was nice today.

He talked to us about his theories about music.  How instead of there being a bunch of (I think he said sixteen) notes in a scale, he feels there are really only four.  He then played us four chords.  The four chords that make up most songs.

He told us that the best way to learn to play guitar is on a children’s guitar like the one he has in an empty room, so you can correct yourself off of your own echos.  That you need to feel the music.  That you need to find your notes.

He sang a song to us and mixed up styles to show us how music is like a wave and you can change the flow.

While we chatted, people walked by.  Everyone seemed to know this guy.  He clearly isn’t just friendly with us.

Eventually he let us go and started talking to a lady waiting for the bus (who did not look as amused as we were).

I love that people aren’t always what they seem.  That someone who clearly loves music and poetry wants to share that with the world, in his own unique way.  That a neighbourhood that is “tough” is very loving and friendly to this unique soul.

Again, you just can’t make this stuff up.

After almost a month of Sundays

Today was my first Sunday back to church in about a month.

Why a month, might you ask? 

Well, it is simple.  

A snow storm, an ice storm and what Patrick classified as one of the better excuses for missing church ever. I sent the reason to him in a text that went a little like this:

Stumbled upon someone trying to die.  Had to help make them stop.  Sorry I can’t be there.

Translation… I was on call.  

I was hoping to make my way in after doing a quick round and then meeting up with staff/doing consults later in the day.  But, my second to last patient of the day happened to be crashing before my very eyes.  I may be on a consult service, but there is a human (and ethical and legal) obligation to help in that circumstance.

So, it has been about a month.  Work and storms have stopped me.  I did get to Christmas Eve church, but this was my first Sunday church.

It was nice to be back.  

To learn and worship as a part of a community.  To catch up with a couple people after the holidays.

Also, it is nice that I am really starting to think of it as community. 

And in case you were wondering after this post, no baby announcement this week (a rarity).

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community

This week’s photo challenge is called “Community.”

There are a lot of ways, as usual to take this challenge.

I find the different markets and events that different cities and towns hold fascinating.

I love a good farmer’s market, or community fairs.  I hate the crowds, but I love the different things people have to offer, the sorts of people that come out and all that good stuff.  like to snap pictures of what I see at these events… When I remember.  So, I included a couple pictures from community things that I spied over the past couple years on my travels.

 

Exhale

The post I was thinking about writing ties in well with the Daily Post daily prompt from a couple days ago, “Exhale,” which asks you to tell about a time when you felt like everything was going wrong and then suddenly you knew it was going to be alright.

In this case, I did know in my head it was going to be alright, at least in theory before this, but still, it fits.

As those of you who read this blog may have noticed, I have been struggling a lot with feeling a part of the community at church.  I’m not a naturally outgoing person and I don’t fit a lot of the typical gender roles of women my age in the church (maybe this isn’t really true, but it is how I feel sometimes).  I have been kind of bothered by the fact that we have been here for a year and things are still challenging socially for me when not at work (my fellow residents/physics folks are geekily delightful) or with the Child and her husband (again, thank goodness for them).  I knew it would take time and I felt like I was gaining ground until the summer hit and our D-group (small group) dissolved for the formation of new groups this fall.

Despite that, I have tried (prayed really hard and tried to be optimistic… er… listened to Patrick’s optimism) to trust that we would make more friends and have real friendships and community.  And tried to trust that this takes time and that really a year, especially with how much we have been away/working, isn’t that long.  And tried to trust that the thoughts in my head that I was hopeless on this end and that things could never be as good as we had with our small group on the Rock were not true.

As a human.  Especially as a human who likes to control things, but doesn’t like groups of people, this has been a challenge.  And although I was trying to leave it all to God and stop putting pressure on myself (and others), I felt very discouraged and kind of down about the whole thing.

Tonight was our first meeting with our new Discipleship group (D-group).  We are definitely the only people that nobody really knows.  And I am totally Patrick’s wife to most of them. That being said, we shared a meal with a group of people from a diverse number of backgrounds.  Single, married, some with teens and others with an infant.  Some go way back, others have known eachother for a year or two.

It was nice.  It was nice to be with people in a group that wasn’t work related.

The first meeting is mainly about setting group ground rules and getting to know one another and praying around what God is going to do for the year.  It was good.

It seems like a good group of people and I think we will have good discussions.

It seems silly, but even just meeting up for the first time and starting to plan for year ahead and chatting a bit made me feel better.  Even though I was terrified to go initially.

It will be okay.  We will get to know more people and I will fit in.

Tonight was just the reminder I needed.

Running and Dying

This weekend was finally the Run Or Dye I have been training for.

Problem being that I, of course, in true Trisha fashion, somehow injured my left ankle and right knee a week and a half pre-race.  I think the ankle came first, but the I ran again the next day and then both hurt.

To top it all off, we went to Montreal for a few days where we walked EVERYWHERE.

My ankle swelled and bruised and was all around beautiful.

So, running really did kind of feel like death.

Nonetheless, I still did manage to run a bit of the race.  Just a bit though.  And, as it turns out, the course was so horrendously muddy and hilly, most people weren’t running too much more than me.  And others from our group apparently still managed to do the thing in under 20 minutes.

The place where the race was had only one way to it from the city.  Traffic was horrendous.  So, despite leaving for what is normally a 45 minute drive, it took us over 2 hours.  And then we wound up parking in a field and taking a shuttle bus to the race site.IMG_0922

The problem was that almost the rest of our group ended up in a different lot and left without us in a different heat as a result of a big communication fail.

So, the Child and I wandered looking for the others and never found them.  There were so many people.  So. Many.  And the starting point was like a corral.  Like we were cattle being led to be milked or something.  Nobody brought phones (except us) and it isn’t like we knew anyone’s number anyway.  But, we did find another team member who was also misplaced (and stuck in traffic), so we did the course together.IMG_0927

The whole being left behind affair really did not help my insecurities and struggle to blend in with the church people outside of church.  It just made me feel more left out when I had hoped that actually finally doing something with the women would help me feel more involved.  Everyone was super apologetic that night at a bonfire and the next day at church.  It really was just one of those circumstances that sometimes happen and two of the other forgotten people had been a part of the church and this group of friends for ages.  It still felt like it was pointing out yet again that we aren’t fully “one of the gang.”  And part of that is that we are both very aware of the fact that we don’t have as many close friends here while others all know each other well.  And that when people are so “together,” even when they are being welcoming, you still feel a bit outside.  Sadly, even as grown ups, we are still getting it together.  So, sometimes, it feels like high school all over again.  Nobody is perfect, that is why we need grace.

It would have been nice to at least start the race with everyone else in our group (because heaven knows I wasn’t keeping up with the 20 minute 5k people).  But, as it turns out, people watching while corralled with a bunch of strangers is also entertaining.  My favourite was a guy in a bunny suit.  Yes… Full on rabbit.  Totally made the loudness and masses of people better in my books.IMG_0929

Despite that, I still had fun.  And made a new friend (the girl who was also left behind).  We laughed about how out of shape we still are, despite trying to train for this.  We tried not to break our necks going down muddy hills and cringed at the rare crazies who tried to run some of them.  We became super colourful while rocking our cool team t-shirts without most of the team.IMG_0937

We pulled off the 5k in somewhere between 45 and 50 minutes.  Nowhere near record breaking, but given the ski hillishness of the course, the mud and my aching ankle, I feel like that is okay.

What was cute was that our husbands came to cheer us on at our first “race.”  Despite the fact it wasn’t really a race.  The funny part was that they were scared of getting dyed and stayed really far away from the finish and missed us completely.

The boys were scared of these giant dye clouds.

The boys were scared of these giant dye clouds.

I still have some bright pink undertones under my right armpit.  When I got home, I had an orange foot, a part green foot, and a bright pink chest and back.  So charming.

I would do it again.  It was as fun as the internet world suggests.  But next time, if it at the same place, the life lesson is leave super early and plan where to meet better than “the parking lot.”IMG_0935

Struggling With Community

Today was our church’s community day.

Basically it is a day where we had a café and music and bbq and a freecycle (basically a yard sale where you can take whatever you want for free) and games for kids and cub cars.  The whole community comes out (which in the neighbourhood we live in leads to some very interesting characters).

So, it is a very social day.

I am tired of people.

The beauty of our church and days like this is that we are a very “together” church as one of our past small group members described.  It is smaller and they take the whole community thing very seriously with whole church parties, bonfires and the like.  I love that about the church.  I think community it important.

When we first started going there, people noticed we were new and introduced themselves.  It was great (well, terrifying, but in a “yay, these people actually want to know us” kind of way).  But, once you are there for a while, you become part of the crowd.  The thing is for me is that most of the crowd are either single students or married parents and some days I feel like there isn’t a whole lot of in between.  That and much of the crowd has known eachother forever, so as much as we are welcome, I very rarely feel like I truly fit in except at our small group.

Last week, the women were having another baby shower for another person I don’t know.  I hate baby showers.  And I get so stressed out about social events when I don’t know people.  I went home from church and freaked out to Patrick about how I will never make friends at this rate because I don’t like typical “woman” activities and don’t have time for half the stuff.

He told me “to make a friend, you have to be a friend.”

Very wise, Patrick.   Very wise.

The Child had a similar freak-out with her husband.

As much as I feel alone, she has met even fewer people because they have yet to get plugged into a small group and such.  At least I can say a knowing “hi” to people.

So, we are both together in our loneliness.

Patrick says we are connected on some weird wavelength.

So, we have vowed to be more social.  Including making each other go to things where we can meet other people from the church.

And thus, we volunteered to help with the café for community day.  Coffee, baked goods and saying polite “hellos.”  Right up our alley.    Plus, I love helping people.

And we did it.  And I feel like we did talk to more people than I normally would have.  In fact, I realized that I at least can chat briefly with more people that I know (sort of) that I had thought.  I also, in some bizarre twist of introductions,  examined the intern pastor’s shoulder (awkward).

That kind of talking is fine.  I like conversations that have purpose.  Like reminiscing about skip-its (How awesome were they?  I mean, until you cracked yourself in the ankle or something) or talking about the beauty of the coffee.   I think that is the same skill that gets me through in my job.  I can polite small talk.  I am interested in people and their stories.

I, however, am not good at walking up to someone random and just chatting.

I had to do it for a bit when I was on the InterVarsity exec in university.  I do it when potential new residents come.  I hate it.

I am a shy person.

You wouldn’t necessarily think it if you saw me talking the face off of someone I know, but I am.

So, when my time at the café was done, I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I am not artistic, so the painting did not appeal to me.  I don’t have kids and hate kids in mass, so the kids stuff looked like a nightmare (this is where most of the people I know were, including Patrick).  So, I rummaged through the freecycle and eventually went home early.

My problem is me.

I know that.

I am scared of being rejected.  I am scared of not fitting in.   I know a big piece of it is self-centred.  Nobody really cares.  But, I get weirded out sometimes when randoms join my conversation, so I project those feelings on others.

Plus, I was tired of people.

Hello, introvert!

I feel like I am slowly (very slowly) getting to know people.  And very slowly making friends.  Patrick has met a ton of people.  They like him.  They apparently ask about me.

It felt easier at our last church.  I still struggled because that is how I roll and I came from a church where everyone knew everyone.   It was bigger, but our small group was our community because we were almost all from away and had no other connections, so we ventured together.  That made a big difference, I think.  It was still tough to get to know others, but we had a core group who felt similarly as our safety net while we pursued our own interests.

Here, our small group is changing next month and they were almost all there for years and know everyone else. Not quite as built in a mini-community because here everyone does everything together.  And yes, almost everyone is under 40, but many are either students or parents of many and we are somewhere in between (I know there are others… I know it).

And yet, I love it.

I love that it is a together church, I love that it is so young and that there are kids and such.  I love that just by being there and being a Christian, I belong. I love that I am continually challenged by this community and a piece of this is the hugely social aspect.  I just wish I could some how more easily feel like I fit in, instead of feeling so anxious about it all the time.

The good piece is that days like today do still feel like a small bit of progress.  And we will have a new small group soon, which means people to develop closer relationships and accountability.  And the run is coming up and some other stuff that will make us put ourselves out there a bit more.

It will come.  It took over a year at our last church before I really started feeling entirely at home.  I take time to settle and really feel engaged.

I guess that is something God and I have to work on.  Because I am not good at this sort of thing on my own.

Community is both natural and intentional.  I feel like right now I know I am in a community, but I just don’t always feel a part of it.  I did feel angry because I was feeling left out of the community, but I have come to realize that people are inclusive, I just have to show up and try.  A lot of that feeling a part of the community I am in needs to come from me making an effort.  Something I didn’t have the time or energy to do until recently.