Meetings. I used to rant and rave about how much I hate meetings. In my current job, I'm pretty much in meetings all day every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This week has been a little more than normal. I'm writing now in the one hour of non-meeting that I have between Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. and tonight at 9:00 p.m.
Meetings are good if they have a purpose. Different meetings have different purposes. Some of my meetings this week are one-on-one conversations. Some with friends, some with strangers. Some of my meetings this week were large - like Alpha. A meeting like that is interesting. 120 people volunteering to show up at the same time and place to ask questions about God and life. That seems like a good reason to meet. Some of my meetings happen every week - with Dave or Garry or Brad or Ed. Some meetings feel a little more weighty, like our six hour VCC Elder meeting coming up at noon.
Then there are the meetings that tend to give to you more than you give to them - the improv class where you see your students break through, the baseball game where your son makes his first double, the candle lit dinner during a power outage with your wife. Those meetings give you fuel for the others. In my life, I mostly go to meetings for the sake of other people - to serve my city and my church. But it's those other meetings that serve me.
The problem with meetings, of course, is that you can meet all day long about how to live your life and never live it. The ebb and flow of community and solitude, of work and rest, of duty and freedom, of order and chaos is perhaps the great unspoken struggle of my life. I have had years of solitude, rest, freedom and chaos. I've also had years of community, work, duty and order. And I have, more than most people I know, had the remarkable ability to romanticize order when I play and play when I work. As I get older, however, the seasons seem to be getting closer to each other - merging in some way. Perhaps maturity looks more like the seasons overlapping and interacting with one another on a daily or hourly basis.
This I know. In the middle of literally 36 straight hours of meetings, I am most grateful to have found this hour to pray and write. This hour will buy me what I need to show up alert for the next nine.