Sometimes, we take a while to find our rhythm in a new city. But we’re finally settling in to Grand Rapids a bit; we are exploring the neighborhood, meeting people, reconnecting with old friends. Sunday was the first day that I felt really great and connected to this place.
We went to morning worship at the church where we’ve been rehearsing. Let’s just say, I felt right at home there.
The sermon was fantastic–they’re in the midst of a search, so a member of the congregation preached. The music was great, and the people were sincere. It’s a smaller congregation than we’re used to, but not so small that visitors are a stared-at novelty. People kindly greeted us, but it wasn’t awkward. I even met a really cool lady and Silas and her son hit it off! One of the real challenges for us about being here is that Silas, while kind of introverted, really misses his friends. Petra is fine to entertain herself a lot of the time, but when Silas doesn’t get friend time, he makes some intense demands on her to interact. She said the other day, “I really hate it when Silas doesn’t have a friend!” So he had a great time with this little boy at church, and the boy’s mom works a flexible schedule, so we’re going to hang out again (yay!). And everyone was happy.
After church, we walked a few blocks to the park to check out the splash pad and make an attempt at biking. Silas actually did ride on his own for about twelve seconds before he freaked out. We’ll get there, baby steps.
Did I mention that we live five short blocks from a really cool park with a splash pad? There are perks to urban life.
On our way to the park, we saw a man and a teenaged girl drawing a big game board in the middle of the street. We stopped to ask what they were doing, and they told us they were getting ready for a big block party. He introduced himself as Sloth and described himself as “the block captain.” He invited us to come back and meet the neighbors. And we did–gold stars to us, for being brave enough to put ourselves out there, and gold stars to those neighbors who very kindly welcomed us.
We met some kids, including twin girls and their older brother, who are 8 and 9. Silas enjoyed playing with them, and they live very close to where we’re staying. Sloth had planned, in addition to the middle-of-the-street board game, a trivia game. I learned a bunch of cool things about Grand Rapids and the neighborhood where we’re staying, and even won a prize (lucky guess, based on a person’s very French last name). Rain washed away Sloth’s board game before we had a chance to play it, but it was a pretty successful block party otherwise. Silas said that Sloth reminded him of my stepdad, and I totally understood why. I’m grateful these kinds of people are in the world.
I had to leave the block party a bit early to get ready for rehearsal. I drove down there with a new cast member–someone who hasn’t done any Pigeon Creek work before. I enjoyed the chance to get to know him better, and I think he seemed more at ease after getting to know me a little bit.
Rehearsal was good–things are starting to gel, we’re finding our way through it and doing some cool work. Being in the middle of a project I’ve had in the back of my mind for 14 years and been actively discussing with people since I was here for Caesar in 2009 is a little surreal, but in the most delightful way. I love being back with this group of people, dear friends and new faces. Rehearsal is feeding my soul and I have energy to feed into it. Right before we left, one of the ladies at church said I seemed to be getting back to myself, and I think that’s right. I’m finding my way back into my life and stepping it forward after such a long strange time.
This day was a gift. The work is a gift. We make our own magic here.