This past Sunday I woke up and decided that I needed to be in this special place. Things kept popping up that told me that maybe I shouldn't go, but I ignored those signs and went anyways. First I tried to leave the house and realized I left the directions. Then I got in the car and realized I had no gasoline. I went ahead and got gas and then missed the highway I needed to take. After all these things were out of the way, I headed down the road with only a little bit of reservation and a full tank of gas.
About 2 hours later, I pulled into the driveway and took a deep breath. I changed into more appropriate shoes (IE less comfortable) and stepped out of the car. I grabbed my trusty bible from 1987 and decided it was time to check things out. I walked into the back building and saw not a soul, but rooms that made me smile. I thought about all the children's laughter that had filled the rooms. I wandered around for about 10 minutes before heading to the front building. I carefully opened the front door and entered. Then the second door opened for me and there was a man that I used to see every single Sunday. His smile was a sight for sore eyes and I entered ....
Every single eye was on me. Some people recognized me right away while others took a few glances. I was given a gift that day. A gift of remembrance. A celebration of my return that no one was expecting. I was greeted with smiles, hugs and memories. I enjoyed my Sunday School class which included sitting between two of my best friends from so long ago. I suspected that they might be there given it was Thanksgiving Sunday, but I wasn't for sure. After all, they both have lives of their own. The service itself was a beautiful reminder of the Advent Season. It was a beautiful reminder of how children are our future. I realized it was so long ago when I sat on those same Burgundy steps listening to a similar Children's Sermon.
Then, the pastor put me on the spot and asked I come to the front in the middle of church to talk with the children. I was petrified to be standing in front of all the adults that used to care for me, but I squatted down low and did what I do every day. I talked with the children. Then, I lit the first Advent Candle with a little boy who was there visiting with his Mom. His Mom used to be my best friend at church. Upon lighting the candle, I swiftly made my way back to the pew sitting next to this little boy's Uncle who was also one of my closest friends. After church, I was invited to their home and enjoyed 3 hours of food and fellowship. We talked about the past and the present. We talked about the good parts of our lives and the not so good parts. In the 7 some hours I was there, I felt as if I had never left at all. Twenty years was erased quickly.
You can go home again. :o)