I just stopped by to say howdy to my lovely new friend over at Spiritual Dragonfly. In her post, Lifes Simple Pleasures ♥ Summer Fun, she was talking about summers of days gone by. A couple of the memories she mentioned brought a particular summer evening of my own so strongly to mind I thought I’d write about it.
It was late in central Ohio. Had to be 9:30 or so. My brother, sister, and I were already in our pj’s and in bed. Or should have been. It was hot in our second story bedroom and I was leaning on the window sill trying to get a breath of fresh air. The moon was pert near full and in the fenced-in backyard below I could see the fireflies disappearing for the night. Earlier my neighbor Sam, who was 11, a couple years older than me, and I had chase them and caught some in a jar. But I’d never let him pull their tails off and make rings out of them like some kids did. I thought that was just plain mean. He always let them go. At least when he was with me.
On the patio at Sam’s house next door I could see Sam and his parents sitting out on their patio furniture sipping sweet iced tea. It sure would have tasted good right then. Sam saw me there in the window and waved. His mom Jane got up and went in the house. I heard the phone ring down stairs. In a few minutes Jane was back in her chair and my mom was sticking her head in the bedroom door asking if I wanted to go down and have tea with Sammy. I was so excited. This was a treat beyond compare! And I even got to go over in my jammies…
I let myself out the back door and through the gate in the wooden fence that separated our yards, and there was my sweet iced tea waiting for me. I don’t remember what we talked about that night. I only know I felt like Cinderella going to a ball — in her jammies! I also felt safe and secure in those two fenced in yards. They were home to me. Where I always played. I knew as long as I stay within their boundaries I’d always be safe and happy. It’s one of my most cherished summer memories.
Years later I’d find it most interesting how those fenced in yards would become so symbolic of stability and security to me. When the church I raised my family in decided to close its doors, I was devastated. Everything, doctrinally, had been so black and white to me there. I knew what was expected of me, what I was suppose to believe. Then we ended up attending a church that was far more encouraging about examining your faith and making it your own. And one day while talking to the pastor at the new church about how difficult I was finding the transition, I found myself explaining to him that I felt like I had moved from a house with a fenced-in backyard to one where all the backyards were open and you could go as far down the street as you wanted to. And it scared me.
It did, in fact, set me on a faith journey I’m still struggling along on today. And as much as I covet not only that summer memory but the time at our old church, I’ve come to realize that old saying is pretty true. You can’t go home again. You’re not the same person you were yesterday or the day before or even five minutes ago. So I thank God for the wonderful memories (and even for some that weren’t so wonderful) and I keep slogging along and wondering if some day I will sort my faith all out or if this really is the journey of a lifetime. If so, that’s okay because THE JOURNEY MATTERS!