Yesterday Greg and I were on a day trip, about an hour from our home. We went to a park, explored a rocky beach, enjoyed the nice sunshiny day, had a run-in with a VERY LARGE dog at an off-lease park and after Daisy yelped and ran under the safety fence to get away from him – we decided it was time to call it a day.
We were driving past a city where 40 years ago, my Dad had been a music/youth leader in an Assembly of God church. Our family used to make the hour-long trek to church twice a week so he could have this job. I was about 10, but my memories are clear. I could see the church in my mind. The hallways and many rooms, the nursery where I used to love to help watch the babies, the youth room, the choir room and the sanctuary where we spent much of our time.
I learned to ride a bike at that church. Oddly enough, it was in one of its downstairs hallways. And then outside in the parking lot, with the help of an older friend. I spent many hours alone, as I was too young to be in the youth choir and the youth group. My parents did make some exceptions for me and there are even a few pictures of me with that youth choir, though I did not have a matching uniform. Too young I often entertained myself in that church, downstairs in the many rooms and making up many games and imaginary people. In the parking lot our missionette group practiced to be in a local parade.
I asked Greg if we could try to find that church. If was difficult, because the name has now changed. The area looks completely different as well. 40 years is a long time. And my memory is not very good when it comes to navigation and direction. But eventually we found it.
I expected it to look very strange inside. After all, when you’re a child things always appear differently and usually we remember them as large – when in fact, they are small. I walked in what must have been the front door, but I do not remember it being there. It looked very much as I remembered it. The same hallways downstairs and same rooms. I rounded a familiar corner and took a look into the sanctuary. How small it was! What a strange thing to be standing there 40 years later and have the memories come flooding back.
When we visit the past, things can be strangely out-of-place but sometimes it is just as we remember it.
We all have a story. We all have those crazy memories from being a child. And sometimes we just need to pay it a visit. I’m glad I did.