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Illumination

I never knew why Dad brought us. Every week we'd sit in the house-church that was really warm because there was no air-conditioning. We'd listen to the same preachers that we've been listening to for the past decade. We'd all expect messages we've heard before. Sunday nights. I could be out with my friends, or playing basketball. Dang, I've already spent the whole morning and afternoon in the church I go to, and I've got to give up my nights to attend Dad's?
I never really understood Dad's insistence until I had to bring my sister to church while I was in Tucson. The immense joy she brought me when she decided to go to church with me is something I cannot fully explain. On some level, it brings me joy because I want her to share in a large part of who I am, but on a deeper spiritual level it is the resurgence of hope. Looking at my mental snapshot of that moment in time, I understood Dad's intentions. I chose to go tonight.
I sat in the back row, in the corner where I've sat for so many years. The people came in. The same people. In the same places. Except for a few new people who came in from overseas, nothing has changed. Except me. In my conscious decision to come tonight I saw things I wouldn't have noticed. I would have been too grumpy to notice the forlorn smile that the couple two rows ahead of me wore when they looked at the children that sat behind them. I don't think they had any children of their own. I prayed a silent prayer for them. The same preacher stood up to speak. Time has taken its toil on him. His message and joy remains the same, though his voice isn't as resonant as it once was, or his legs as strong.
Dad looked back and found me sitting in my corner. He smiled. I now knew why.
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