Sweet Melancholy Memories
I was headed to a meeting last night to learn more about how to study the Bible. It was a last minute invitation, and it sounded interesting. It was to be held at my old church, so I knew I would see some familiar faces. But I didn’t expect what else it would include.
I arrived just a little early, which is normal for me. I did see some lights on, but I waited just a bit to go on in. I could see through the doors that the woman hosting the meeting was in the back room, but no one else seemed to have arrived yet. I entered the large lobby. It takes more than a few steps to cross it. I slowly looked around, really noticing everything, and it suddenly seemed to be rich with memories. It took me by surprise as I began to absorb it all. I had visited more than a few times since we changed to a church, in our new town, but this was very different. I was all alone, and it was so quiet. There were no handshakes just inside the door, no voices, no familiar smiling faces, no hugs being given, and no friends working there behind the counter. It was just me and God... After over ten years in this church, I thought of all that we had experienced here—all the Sunday services, Wednesday nights, prayer meetings, special events, holidays, and even the celebration of our son’s life after he went Home to Heaven. It was dawning on me, this building, this church lobby, contains a large part of our family’s history. God was reminding me how this church body had been there for us on our best days...and our worst. We experienced Jesus’ love here, through His people, as they prayed and cared for us. They were with us as we wheeled our son in and out of here while he underwent chemotherapy for over five years. And when we entered this church without our son for the first time, they were there to comfort us as we wept together. We began learning to live our lives without Phil while attending this church. Then grandchildren joined our family. I remember holding them as they slept through Christmas Eve services, and the gratitude that filled my heart as God was restoring our family. Within these walls I went from crying through, “He gives and takes away,” to singing those very same words with such gratefulness for Jesus’ gift of eternal life.
The seemingly empty lobby last night held so much. Those were the years when Jesus had become my Everything. I tucked that sweet melancholy feeling in my heart as I left last night. But I didn’t know quite what to make of it until today, when I was sharing it with friends. It’s then that I realized...
When Searching And Noticing the Divine, sometimes God has thoughtful surprises waiting for us—gifts we haven’t even asked for. You see, this church will soon be moving to a new location. I believe that God wanted me to have a last walkthrough, a trip down memory lane with Him because of all we had experienced there together. Unbeknownst to me, I had two meetings to attend at church last night—one with the ladies, and one with my Lord. Thank You, Jesus! Your thoughtfulness knows no bounds!
Every good and perfect gift is from above... James 1:17 (NIV)