What is a church?
A slightly worn art deco-style structure in the little farming community of Escalon?
To me, it's always been so much more than that. I have been blessed with a wonderful church family wherever I've traveled, but my home church in California has always held a very special place in my heart. It has been a fortress, a safety, a place where our little family was always welcome. And it wasn't always easy for them, I'm sure. There have been some challenging times with my kids, but I could always count on my church family to stand by in loving support.
My kids grew up in this church. They sang their little songs in the Sabbath School room downstairs. My boys proudly collected the offering and my daughter learned her first lessons in diva-hood having a tug-of-war over the microphone during special music. We celebrated each of their milestones here, surrounded by friends that loved us.
Every room holds a memory---or several hundred---all of them precious no matter how ordinary they seemed at the time. It was bittersweet to go back this trip, to see all the old familiar things, still there, still unchanged by time. And all the while be aware that the same time that passed gently by things and buildings had inexorably altered the people in its path.
My little ones aren't so little any more, and even though I'm a proud mama because of how far they've come, I can't help but miss the old days sometimes. But there's plenty to look forward to in the future, and we can't stop time, no matter how hard we try.
It was nice, though, to revisit those days for just a little while.
Before we left for Montana...
What a difference a few years make, eh?
It was so special for all of us to get to see all the old familiar places and faces. We wanted to give back a little by doing a musical program for everyone in the afternoon. Just like old times again. Only the kids are way bigger now, with much deeper voices and way more facial hair.
Except for Tiggy.
(Looking at my photos of our program, I suppose it would be politically correct to include my mom in my exception.)
Everyone took a turn singing. The kids each picked a song to sing, and we mixed it up with a few favorites we remembered people liked from before. After all, if they hadn't heard the songs for a few years, they were bound to sound fresh and new, right?
It was very nice, an afternoon of music and reminiscing. I could have stayed all day, but eventually we had mercy on our hard-working friends and released them. Thankfully, we still had one more Sabbath to spend together before heading home because we would still be in California the next weekend.
Caleb has collected spare moms for years. I don't know what it is about that kid, but everywhere he goes, he turns women into little puddles of maternal mush. He has a number of new spare moms out here, but on our trip he got to see one of his originals.
Some scenes from around the church......I made that cross for the VBS we did on Pilgrim's Progress. It's one of our family's all-time favorite programs, especially because Devon's costume required he dress his skinny little legs in tights. Epic. Simply epic. Still, I said I'd never do another program like that one because of the daily scene changes. Took years off my life, I tell you!
It was wonderful to see everyone again and to spend time with them in fellowship. I am forever and always grateful for the gift of ALL my families---the one I was born with, and the ones I've been given through Christ.
To all of my precious church family, both past and present, thank you.
Thank you for being there.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.