16 March 2009

"weekenddienst" (weekend service)

once every 7 weeks, i have weekenddienst, and last weekend it was my turn again. i share the duties with 3 other people, and we take care of the meals, lead 3 chapels, hold open hours for the reception, buy groceries, pick up the bread, go with people to church, and do a couple of fun activities with the group. i enjoy being able to spend more time with the people in the house and doing fun things, but it makes me tired being with people so much of the time. and being in charge of the weekend gives me more responsibilities - it takes a lot of energy for me to be present and pay attention to what's going on with the activities and the people. and this weekend the house was completely full (with people often transitioning there's usually a couple of places here and there that are empty), so it was even more to pay attention to. and it's a bit difficult to know what would appeal to different people and what's fair and how do we make the weekend "gezellig" for everybody without fully knowing how much or little everyone'd like to participate.

so the plans for the weekend were soccer on saturday afternoon, a free music concert in the evening, sunday morning church and in the afternoon, the fair. it rained on saturday but we played anyways to get rid of some energy (it was good to have the children running around outside instead of through the house up and down the stairs - irritating everyone else). saturday evening's concert was well enjoyed - but unfortuantely only by a few. on sunday, we all got to go to our church of choice, and the fair was good.

but two of the children couldn't go to the fair even though they wanted to. as their mom wasn't willing to go with us, they couldn't go. the mom said she was sick, but her willingness to be responsible for someone else's child, her enthusiastic conversations earlier, and her attempts to take charge of other's meal preparations didn't fit with her claim to be sick. sometimes the weekend team does fun things with the children and gives the parent(s) a bit of a break, but the ideal (and the agreement) is that the parents are also around to share in the fun that their children are having. and it was better to highlight the importance for parents to be responsible for and delight in their children (and that the new family could see this) than it was for the children to have this fun, even if i was disappointed over the situation.

but the fair was still good. we walked around, ate chips, went on a few rides, and laughed. another weekend team member acknowledged that he couldn't stand all the noise and didn't like fairs, but was really glad that we could be doing these thing together. and i was glad to share in the enjoyment of the others - the best part was the sense of wonder that came from the young couple. the women told me that she'd never been on a ride like this before - and you could see on her face and how she talked that she'd really enjoyed it. and i was filled with a sense of deep joy that i get to help bring such enjoyment to someone else.

when i passed on our evaluations this morning, i was asked if anything unusual happened this weekend. and i answered, no, nothing really out of the ordinary. i have to laugh, though - since 'ordinary' here is just about everything! relatively speaking it was pretty quiet, no threatened violence, nobody missing the whole weekend (just a couple of people one night, which isn't so unusual), no major sickness or hospital visits (just an allergic reaction from a visitor), and no one decided to leave unexpectedly.

instead, i got to share in the lives of the people around me. i became more aware of the choices others make - when they can (or cannot) recognize their own busy-ness and need for space - and whether they're aware of how they interact with others and how their actions affect others. i saw/see trust growing between people. i saw good teasing. i noticed gentle concern expressed over another's absence. i had a cute 3 year-old fall asleep on me. i laughed (with others) as i cleaned up the mess of burnt rice and water that had ended up on the kitchen floor. and that i'm invited to share in the lives around me is something i find unusual enough in itself.

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