I traveled back home this past weekend. Our old church had their 150th anniversary, and I had the privilege of being asked to share a few words. Five to seven minutes was not quite enough time though.
We arrived at my parents house Saturday afternoon. Let me just say... they HAVE air conditioning... my dad just likes to keep the thermostat set rather high. I think it was on 77 f when we got their, but the next morning it was on 79. Apparently he got cold at some point. I think it was in the mid 90's outside, and humid as it can get. I know I like it cooler than most people, but I was dying. At one point my mom even said something about it being hot, and my dad says, "Well it must just be you!" I said, "I don't think so." I turned it down some, and my mom finally turned it down some more. It finally got better by Sunday night.
Saturday evening we went to a little bar in Sheffield and had supper with some good friends who are departing for Southeast Asia this week. We are the Godparents of their teenage girls (or whatever the term is where we will have custody of them if something happens to the parents). It was weird because, when we walked in, there were four girls sitting at the bar that I had went to high school with (all of us did). They were having their 30th class reunion later and were getting primed. So we chatted with them awhile. After we ate we got up to leave and the other 3 stopped to talk to another former schoolmate at the bar. I stopped and chatted with an old man who was sitting down at the end of the bar by himself. I had worked with him some, and was friends with a couple of his kids. I introduced myself to him (he didn't recognize me) and... he started to cry. It was one of those happy/sad moments and I felt a little awkward but was so glad I said something to him. We chatted and he told me that his wife of 62 years had passed away 3 years ago. He talked about that for awhile, but then I had to go. Then I got stupid. Everyone else had left, and I said hello to the girl they had been talking to - whom all of us thought was named "Sue". I said, "Hi Sue." And she says, "Jan." And I said, "No, I'm Dan" (See, a lot of people call Jane and I "Jan and Dane" for some reason, so I thought she was calling me Jan). But she was actually trying to tell me that she was not "Sue," but rather, her sister "Jan." So I felt really stupid. Anyway, I made some small talk and got out of there. We also saw the Morris twins, in addition to Jennie, Lori, Kristen and Carol. After we left we went back to K & T's and sat on the porch along the highway in Buda and talked until midnight or 1 am - I can't remember (and we changed time zones, so I was kinda confused all weekend).
Sunday we went to the worship gathering at our old church - although when we attended there it was at a different location. I always have mixed emotions when we go here, because I really like so many of the people, but the service is so different from ours. This morning they just had one combined service instead of two (because of the anniversary celebration), and the music and stuff was good. They also had a special speaker - the president of our denominations region. He is a good speaker, but... you know. It was what it was. It was an anniversary party. After the service they had a really nice lunch. I think they had like 300 people for lunch. I ate quickly, but then I had to kinda go roam the halls, because I just can't stand being in the midst of that much commotion for too long. I sat in the sanctuary for awhile, then talked with some people in the hallway, then went into one of the other dining rooms and sat with some friends. At 2 pm they had the afternoon program. It was nice. They talked about some of the former pastors (although they just completely skipped over some of the ones they didn't like), they had some videos, and we sang some... then I spoke. I probably went over the 7-minute limit a little, but I tried to hurry. I pretty much just told about who I was, what I was doing now, what my family was doing, and how the church had impacted us - planted seeds and whatnot. I wanted to lift out a few names of people who had been especially helpful. I ended by telling them that there are a lot of people in that town that I care a lot about - people I have held in my heart over the past 13 years; many of whom I still think about and pray for daily - and I added at the last minute, "They don't need your [nice new] building; but they need your Jesus." So I encouraged them to continue reaching out, and hoped God would continue to bless them. Everyone clapped when I was done (or some anyway), and I was happy. Then they played a video from another pastor who had come from the church, and had a missionary speak, and I think that was it.
Sunday night we went out to Jane's brothers' house. We visited with he and his wife for awhile. First we sat outside and looked at the cows and watched the kittens play, then we went inside. We also drove by the 39 acres we own. The corn doesn't look so good right now, so our rent check might not be too hefty this year. Oh well. We drove home through the woods and headed back to my parents.
We got up early Monday and were supposed to have breakfast with our friends from Southeast Asia and some friends who were also home from Germany. The ones from Germany didn't show, so we just said our goodbyes and headed back to Indiana. The rain chased us for awhile, but it was an uneventful trip. It seemed to take us longer than usual, but I felt good. My back didn't hurt, and I was able to go work at the church building for awhile while Jane went to class.
Today is a new day. I have to write a sermon this week for the first time in over a month. Gulp. I'm a little nervous. Actually, I'm kind of a lot nervous.
All in all it was a pretty nice weekend. I love Buda. It's always nice to visit with old friends, and it's good to take a break from the lonely routine of normalcy.
Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.