September 16th, 2007

Down Nostalgia Road: Back To Church

Given that this is the most recent entry, I thought I should extend a warm welcome to my newcomers:
i'm glad to have you onboard and I hope you enjoy it here!

Check out the previous entries of the weekend as well:
Chased By Raindrops
The Reunion That Almost Wasn't
Any visit to my old family home wouldn't be complete without a stop at the old church. I came up already knowing this, and I welcomed it. Just a little more of that homely feel that I've been lacking for so long.

So, after the very long day before, I was pleased to finally get a sound night's sleep. I dropped off sometime around 11:50, and didn't resurface till 7:30 AM. Mike's voice came in loud and clear: "John, wake up. It's time to get ready for church."

Still feeling quite groggy, I managed to stumble down the hall with my dress clothes on my arm. I wasn't able to shower immediately, so I just sat down and watched some of the sports update on ESPNews. Too bad for the University of Louisville against Kentucky, that's definitely a bad upset for them.

As is normal in my household on church Sunday's, there was no time for eating. We all piled into the minivan on a morning even colder than the preceding one and headed on out. We stopped to pick someone else up as well, but I don't know who it was.

Once inside, many of the older women started poking and prodding me, and one even kissed me on the cheek. Someone sitting directly behind me fixed my collar, I always find it amusing how sighted people's eyes get drawn to such small details.

To kick off the service, my mom said a prayer. Now, these prayers are usually relatively calm, but she has so much passion and spirit that she had the entire church crying and on its feet within moments.

I also appreciated the message, and I think it can be applied no matter what one's religious beliefs are. The pastor said that there are four main things holding us back from achieving greatness, fear, procrastination, laziness and pride. He said that too many of us just sit around on our talents, instead of exercising them and trying to build them into something bigger and better. "No matter if you have a disability, if everything seems to be going wrong in your life, or if you just grew up in a bad household, you still have some purpose" he said. As often happens, I couldn't help but to feel that the message was being directed solely at me. Although, I suppose that's one of the marks of a well crafted sermon.

I was surprised that things didn't last longer than they did, but of course my folks never get out of there quickly. We must have sat in the van for fifteen minutes, awaiting my mom and Mike as they continued to chat with people in the building. After transporting our other passenger back to his place and stopping at the store, we finally headed back home.

To my horror, they immediately flicked on the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Texans. See, I have this rule that I can't start watching a game if I've missed the beginning or my team will lose. Just as they turned it on, we were fumbling the ball on a kickoff return, which cost us a touchdown. Ridiculously, after going up 14-0, we gave up 34 unanswered points! Smith did break off a really long, but ultimately meaningless, touchdown to make the final score 34-21. I'm trying to tell myself that was just one loss, but it still hurts.

And what would a visit home be without my mom's delicious cooking! For dinner, I had baked chicken, mashed potatoes, potato salad, broccoli, corn, a biscuit and a glass of juice. It was pretty good, but I had to sit there listening to the kids yabbering constantly. Ah well, I guess that just comes with the territory.

And now I'm headed back down the highway, back to Charlotte. Supposedly, I'll meet my Aunt in Marshville, getting me home somewhere around 8:00. Though there were some glitches, this weekend was a good one overall. I have to be appreciative of all my friends and family who got together to make it work. Let's hope it signifies a good start for year 29.