Sunday, May 22, 2011
Where Is My Home?
He was sitting on a bench, cane in hand, with his eyes closed tight. Downtown on Sunday mornings is the most soothing place on earth. Across from this old man's place of comfort sat the courthouse and a quaint church--one of which I have never been inside. Both release the sounds of life that keep people moving--the chimes of time, and the awe of a group of voices singing.
For the first time in awhile, our family was trying to find a home. Our first visit to an unknown congregation with new faces was a strange and awkward position--one of which was not the least bit alluring or entertaining--but we immediately felt at peace once the music began. It moved us, much as the chorus downtown soothes the elderly stranger.
Shanna and I left the church, beating traffic after dismissing early, and feeling rejuvenated. There the old man was sitting in the same spot on the same bench as we passed through the Square in order to find sustenance for the afternoon. As we passed, I watched him mouth the words of the chorus to the hymn being sung across the street and smiled. He opened his eyes slowly to see me looking; he waved gently, and I repeated the gesture.
"Who's that?" Shanna asked.
"I have no idea."
I wondered about his story--why he chose to sit on that bench and soak in the Sunday moment rather than walk through the heavy church doors and sit on a pew and join in the singing.
"You have one mortal enemy: time," Pastor Miller said. "How many times have you heard someone say, 'Where did the time go?'"
I thought of the courthouse clock in town. Its chimes reminding all of us of our long to-do lists for the day ahead. For over ten years, I have said that clock was a quintessential part of my hometown. But as the years have weighed on that elderly man singing hymns to himself each Sunday, I wonder if each interrupting chime stands as too much of a reminder of things to come... Or, perhaps, how much things have changed.
Still without a home, technically, my family and I plan on giving Pastor Miller and his church another chance next Sunday. We are one step closer to finding a home, but what of the old man? What of me? Will I be there, fifty years from now, sitting on the bench, listening to hymns every Sunday, homeless and alone? Or will I have finally found contentment and understanding in my needed self-reflection, and soon find a place to plant my feet?
I can change my future if I just take some time to breathe, then act. Act on love, act on impulse, act on inhibition, and proactively be somebody--somebody who does not worry or grow impatient. Somebody to love. Somebody with a home.
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