We weren't able to carpool to church because she had some errands she needed to do later in the day. However, that was fine because this suburban chick is getting better at driving in the city... And for kicks, since I was driving in the city, I had to listen to my country music. For some reason whenever I go down there I feel compelled to do so. Guess it's my inner "fight" between country and city love. Anyway...
I followed Joy on a back road up and over some hills and through some foggy patches. The road allowed us to sneak into sleepy Sunday morning downtown. We entered its back doors through a lush green hallway, created by tall overgrown trees that stretched across the road. As we came down a small hill, the city greeted us with the familiar sight of the waterfront and its big bridges. Though it was a gray day, it was just fine. Loved the coziness and chilliness of the fall day. Good for church-going Sunday :)
Before going to church we spent time enjoying each other's company at a chic coffee/bakery shop. I had some hot chocolate and a large almond flavored scone. Yum! Joy and I were quite humored with our pastries-- though they were delicious they were incredibly messy. We had pastry flakes all over the place. The messiness was worth it though, I loved my scone and it was completely devoured.
While talking, sippin' on our drinks, and eating our pastries, I was entertained with the people that would pass by the big glass windows. A dog park was nearby so people often walked past with their pooches. At one point a dog owner went into one of the shops and left their dog tied up to a tree. I was quite amused watching the dog wait for its owner. There were quite a few leaves around and its tail collected a few. When he/she would wag their tail, the leaves would sway in the wind. I have a feeling the owner probably had to "de-leaf" their dog later on.
After our time in the coffee shop, Joy and I meandered our way over to her church. We got there in plenty of time and I had an opportunity to meet some people. I was happy to see an old youth leader from a church I went to for a good portion of my life.
The church service was very good. At first I was a little unsure of some things but then as the service progressed I relaxed. The sermon was really neat-- feel like I was meant to be there to hear what the pastor said. Recently, I read a Romans 3:21-31, which talks about Christ's punishment for us and what it means to have faith (and in regards to the law). The pastor used Galatians 3 when he was talking about the difference between being religious versus truly living a life centered around the Gospel. I was thrilled when he was talking because of the connection with the section of Romans that I had read. I had been thinking about Romans 3 for quite sometime. One of those chapters that percolated in my brain... and it was a total "aha!" moment when the pastor was talking. So uplifting! I think I'll write a post specifically about that soon but I need some time to mull it over in my mind.
When church was over I spent awhile meeting and greeting more lovely people. I met two really nice gals and talked with several other people. I felt like the church was very sincere and inclusive, which is very refreshing. Overall, the congregation is fairly young so its easier to relate to people. I was happy and impressed with how welcoming they were. I hope to go there again!
After yakkin' with people for awhile, Joy and I went out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called "Cha Cha Cha!" We had delicious burritos for only about $5. Good deal! Yummmm...
We parted ways after lunch and I drove home feeling as though my whole body was smiling. My spirit felt encouraged, changed of scenery was delightful, and spending time with my childhood friend was precious. Thank you Lord for such a good day.
Days like that are so good the soul. If warmth itself could be packaged in a beautifully wrapped gift.. that's what those days are like. I think God gives us those days to bless us in the down times, to help us persevere. When days are dreary-- whether it be the seemingly endless raindrops that fall from the overly generous sky... or just times of feeling multiple shades of blue... We can reach inside ourselves and take hold of that gift and smile, knowing that not all days will be like this... and that surely, most surely, better days will come again.