Three’s Company

At the ‘greasy spoon’ café, where our little Renovaré triplet meets on one Friday each month, the coffee is strong, service is cheerful and the breakfasts are enormous.  Over the years we’ve been together I have had to cut back on the calories to avoid putting on the pounds.

Being in a group of three allows each of us to have time to speak and share more personally.  If life is busy then we could be finished inside an hour, although it works best when we allow an hour and a half if possible.  Quite simply we bring along the Order of Meeting taken from Life Streams by James Bryan Smith and Lynda Graybeal and shape our discussion around it.

As we became good friends we got to trust each other and our meetings still continue many years later.  We laugh a lot, do special things to celebrate our birthdays and watch out for each other when times are hard.  So far one of us has become a father twice, two of us have lost our mothers and one has had financial problems.  But we still meet – and laugh – together.

For us, three is not a crowd.  But, whatever its size, there are special challenges for any small group that’s been together for a long time.  Here are some of them:

Keeping It Confidential

With the level of vulnerability, we share it is all the more important for us to covenant to be totally confidential with each other.  The two of us who are married don’t even tell our spouses some of the things that have been shared.  This kind of commitment needs to be agreed by the group, along with our partners, to make sure everyone is happy to keep to this rule.

Stick To The Script

When we meet there is so much we want to ask each other that it’s easy to miss the rhythm of the ‘Order of Meeting’.  There is no need to get legalistic about it and after a while, we got to know the flow of the meeting without looking at the outline.  But it does take everyone to participate in covering the questions of the heart or ‘examen’ to avoid one person becoming the leader.

Having A Get-Out Clause

There is no intention that our little community of grace will disperse, but we want to be open to this happening.  Endings are really important in relationships and if we were to go in different directions then we would want to do this in the best possible way.  There is a useful ‘periodic review’ in the Life Streams workbook.  If we do this well then we can look forward to forming new groups with new people and with new dynamics between us.

Best experience: When we sat across the table from each other and laid hands on one of us facing special temptation and struggles

Worst experience: Has anyone heard of a low-calorie Full English Breakfast?

– James Catford