Thursday, June 28, 2012

Last week I took my daughter to her cheer camp in Milledgeville, GA.  It was a 3 hour drive each way for a 2 day camp, so I decided to stay and do some writing and researching and artmaking and I must say, I had a truly wonderful and reflective time!  Here is what I wrote on Friday afternoon:

dwest - photo 2012 "St. Stephens"

    As I drove into the small town of Milledgeville, GA, specifically the campus of GCSU I immediately noticed a lovely, old Episcopal Church and I knew that I had to see it.  There were aspects about the old wooden facade that brought me back to my childhood church, St. Georges in Ardmore, PA, the church where I was confirmed, the church that I taught my first Sunday School class in and the church that I returned to on the day I married my best friend.  It also reminded me of the quaint church in Ocean City, NJ that I visited often in the early 90's.
    So today I woke up and put on my exercise clothes and I walked - I really wasn't sure where I was headed but I knew deep down inside that I wanted into the church.  I walked aimlessly for about an hour, checking out the little campus while talking on my cell phone with my Moo - a story for another day - and suddenly I was standing before the old church!  I wasn't even sure how I got there, but here I was.  I hung up the phone and slowly walked up the ramp as the sign prompted me to do only to find that the door was locked? 
    Who locks a church? 
    Evidently, they do, so I walked around to the side door and there stood a darling older woman who opened yet another locked door to let me in.  I asked if I could come in and see the church and spend some time praying and she promptly unlocked the back door to the chapel and here I sit!  It's a charming yet dark and spooky and mesmerizing building and I have to say, it feels really good.  As I sit here in the 4th pew on the right side I am taking it all in.  The dark walnut wooden planks that make up the floor and the steepled roof, the brass organ pipes that feel as if they are in need of pouring out their musical souls, the musty smell of hidden stories, and the illuminated sunlight peeking through the 13 stained glass windows and I find myself crying.  Crying with remembrance of my Episcopalian upbringing, days growing up and the feeling I always had when I entered our old beautiful church, a feeling of "good".  My heart melts a bit as I feel somehow closer to God and Jesus as I sit here.  I feel closer to my Croy, closer to history.  I see Croy standing and holding hands with both God and Jesus and his smile is brighter than the sun through the colored glass windows.  I am filled with a peace.  It's a mixed feeling peace.  Sad in that I miss my boy so much I ache, yet happy knowing with all my heart that he is in such a magical place, heaven.  My tears are peaceful.
    I am interrupted for a bit by Chris, another woman who comes in to see if she can answer any of my questions.  As I wipe my tears away I tell her briefly about my Croy and she tells me about her deceased granddaughter - Brittany was 7 - she was born still born and lived with cp - a miracle child from the start. Chris told me about her poem that she felt compelled to write about a month after she lost her Brittany, she believes she was in fact "told" to write this poem and wonders if that was God?  She tells me that God's hand was surely in it, and I believe her.  I wish I could read her poem.  That poem gave her tears a peace of their own. She then tells me about some of the history of the church and she leaves me to my prayerful moments, kindly telling me to take my time.
     And I am now alone again, sitting in this little church and being hugged by God!  Somehow Croy is here with me and I am about to go back on my long walk and head back to my computer and write some more. 
     Reflections can be cathartic. Church is cathartic.  And I question, where does my path lead? 
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings.  Acknowledge Him in all your ways and He will direct your path" (proverbs 3:5-6). 
     Am I destined to be in a Church?  Why was I drawn to that church - how did I end up there?  As I reflect on my hour spent at the church I look to my notes,
     "I breathe the old, hot air of the little dark brown church of St. Stephens - built in 1841- and I listen closely as the history reveals itself.  The church has seen and felt sad times but I can feel it is begging to be revived - I want to hug it in the way in which it is hugging me - there is a reason I was brought here today."
What's my path?

dwest - photo 2012 "Welcome"

As usual, I am not sure where this is going but I feel it is important to share - to consider- to journal and try to figure out where it fits in my collage/puzzle of notes and research and lived experiences.  More memoirs to consider in the day of a life.

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