On Tuesday, I pushed my feelings of anxiety down, gathered up my two preschoolers and a dish of food, and scrambled into the back of a car driven by a man I’d never met. There were seat belts, but no car seats, and the traffic moved fast.
“Call this number. Tell him you want to go to J-‘s house on Tuesday.” That had been my invitation to women’s Bible study from my new church.
I was scared to go, but I was more scared to stay home for another day, isolated with my little ones in our high rise apartment. Every day had become the same. Communication with loved ones was strained by technological limitations. I couldn’t step out of my door without being stared at and was occasionally threatened. I could feel my mental reserves breaking down.
We arrived at a house. The driver refused my tip. My children ran off to play, and I found myself chatting with a group of moms. As we talked, my muscles began to relax, my breathing slowed, and my mind cleared.
For several months we went. The criteria for participation were that you were a mom, more or less spoke English, and more or less believed in Christianity.
Ginger tea was a staple at these meetings. Delicious, and stabilizing, it’s particularly good for morning sickness. To make ginger tea, you simply slice up some fresh ginger root, and put it in a pot. Add drinking water and boil for several minutes depending on how strong you want your tea. Serve with honey.
Each week we’d start with some kind of study and discussion while the children played, then move to lunch with the children, and more discussion. Then we began trying to leave. Taxis were harder to come by late in the day, and some of us would be stuck there with our whining preschoolers until we could figure out a way home.
There were arguments over everything from the lunch menu to what it means to be a Christian. Somehow though, spending that one day with other moms gave me what I needed to make it through the other six. I wasn’t alone anymore.
Last week my daughter started playing with a girl her age at the library garden. Suddenly the mom turned to me, “I don’t want to be pushy, but could we get together?” We ended up spending a beautiful crisp morning in my back yard. Our common value this time is that we appreciate not being judged for how we parent.
I’m sure my new friend pushed some feelings of anxiety down as she extended the invitation and headed to my home, and I am grateful.