Memories can be wonderful; like when you remember a fly pizza place in a random town you visited and want to return,
or when you’re thinking of crazy times with your college friends,
or when you’re rushing for work in the morning and suddenly know exactly where your car keys are…
But they can also be filled with pains. Remembering someone you won’t be able to see again until your “time” comes,
or a prized possession that was lost and cannot be replaced,
or remembering a time in life that you can never again experience.
Welcome to my personal impromptu therapy session, y’all!!
Today a friend told me that on Sunday we’re going to church, then brunch.
I missed the first part of the sentence almost as if it was part of a stranger’s side conversation, that I wasn’t really meant to hear.
“Cool, brunch – wait, you said church?”
“Yeah, we’re gonna go to church first.”
“Nah, I don’t think I’m going.”
In the end I understood that it wasn’t an option.
It really bothered me though. Why am I now dreading Sunday?
I continued to sift through my thoughts during my drive home, and hours later, but it wasn’t until right now at 3:20am that I’ve figured it out.
I miss my hometown.
I haven’t acknowledged that sentiment since I left for college.
But not only that; I miss my church home of my memories.
I’ve tried to test replacements, but I never stay longer than 3 weeks.
I realized that subconsciously, if it’s not old Greater Mount Olive, I don’t want it.
Why? Because it hurts to realize that I can’t have those moments in time back, no matter what house of worship I go to, and it’s really hard for me to face as truth.
“Chessy-messy? Chessy-messy, are you up from your nap? Do you want to come with me to choir practice?”
“Yep! Let me find my shoes!”
I remember being a solo body sitting in the rows of empty pews listening as the choir rehearsed, and rehearsed, and rehearsed.
Sometimes doing homework,
sometimes lost in the sounds not realizing I’m gonna miss that view one day.
I remember tagging along to prepare for communion in the back room, that’s through the doorway on the left, and down the hall.
Using a clear squeeze bottle with a thin funny looking nozzle, to squirt grape juice into tiny clear cups.
Cups that fit perfectly into silver trays my grandma just polished.
The only two in the building, with nothing but the sound of our voices and the bottles sucking up air before they were squeezed again.
I remember playing tic-tac-toe on the programs only to randomly look up and catch a glare of death from the choir stand. “I can’t play anymore, I have to pay attention.”
My grandpa, a deacon, singing a phrase lasting 3 seconds, and the congregation taking 300 years to sing it back to him in drawn out tones.
I remember watching my aunt (the inspiration for my love of broaches), play the piano and organ with a fire as if she invented the instruments herself.
Going with my mom to the dining hall after service and staying right by her side until I was comfortable with my surroundings, only to then scurry off to play and inevitably get a run in my stockings at some point. Whoops.
Peppermints from the bottom of purses, tissue in my pocket in case my nose ran, big hats that seem like too much weight for one head, the sermons that made sense, the church that wasn’t “mega”, the smell of colognes and perfumes, mixed with grease, curling irons, aftershave, and hot combs.
A smell that permeated the very walls no matter the season or who was in attendance.
The congregation looking around anxiously with big smiles when my uncle, the pastor, asked if there were any visitors in the house.
My favorite little old ladies.
I miss it all very much, so the enormous catalog of memories plays on a loop and brings me pain.
Maybe though, because I’ve finally found the issue and talked about it, I can actually enjoy church again?
I’ve heard that’s how it works.
We’ll see on Sunday.