The girls and I traveled to Slapout. We just love it here and have had several wonderful trips in recent months. Tonight, however, was a first. I went back to Cain's Chapel. This was where Jason and I served in ministry for six years. I have been in Slapout on Sundays before but just could not bring myself to go back. We spent six wonderful years there. I smile as I think about it. Truly, it was our Camelot. There were ups and downs, as there always are in life. But, overall, it was a time that I look back on wistfully.
Cain's Chapel was having their summer Vacation Bible School. There was so much activity and fun taking place. I walked into the "hospitality room." The church members provide snacks for the workers. One of the young adult males was teasing some of the older ladies about Facebook. He told her he was going to post her picture as his Friday night date. There was so much laughter. It was just like old times, but then again, it was not. In the old times Jason would have been there with me. We were a team, and we made a good one. I laughed along with everyone, and truly it did feel good to laugh. But the memories were haunting.
I walked down the hallway and saw pictures of Jason at the "Baptism at Bonner's." I noticed walls that we painted ourselves, along with a few other church members. I walked by the Welcome Center. I remember when we decided that we should add that. We talked about how it would fit. Then I went into the old sanctuary. That was when not just a "wave of grief" hit; this time, it was a Tsunami.
The sanctuary was dark, and I sat on the front row. My girls had been at my side the whole night. I guess it is a little awkward for them to go back. I asked them if they could give me some time. I sat on that front row and cried as I have not cried in over two months. I can close my eyes and in an instant go back in my mind to our time there. I can see Jason standing up there. It was a smaller, more informal church. Inevitably, he would forget something, and he would ask me to clarify. He would always make a joke about it. He has this uncanny ability to turn anything around and make people laugh about it. Tonight I grieved deeply over those memories. I took the book of our life off the shelf, and I immersed myself in it. I did not hold the memories loosely. I took them all in and experienced them as if they had happened yesterday.
I called a friend. I hoped she could give me some insight to help me through this. She simply said, "It is just something that you have to get through, Amy." So I allowed myself time to mourn.
Since we left, the new sanctuary has been completed. We left in June 2007, and it was completed in July 2007. I tried to walk into that sanctuary, but it was locked. It was probably for the best. I thought of all the work that went into building that sanctuary. There was the pledge drive. Amazingly, that was such an exciting time. There was a buzz all over the church about people investing in the future. Then there were the plans and meetings, meetings, and more meetings. The sanctuary was almost completed when we left, but we did not get the chance to see it come to fruition.
It reminded me in a sense of our marriage. Twenty-one years of hard work were put into this marriage. There were difficult times, but there were so many good times. But it was over before we saw it to completion. I think it was good that I didn't go into the new sanctuary tonight. I think it would have been too harsh a reminder of what should have been.
Finally, my girls came back in. My heart was still heavy, but my tears had stopped. We went and watched the closing of Bible School. So how am I feeling now? I am nostalgic. I am longing for something past. But I know that it is just that. It is past and to be no more. I will not stay in this place, but for now I have to allow myself to grieve.
Tomorrow, I will dance, but for tonight I need to mourn.
New Living Translation
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.