So John drove and drove and looked and looked...and we found this Elks Lodge. A sort of grange hall space, and decided to give it a shot. At this point, I assumed we would follow the perfect little blue print going on in my head. John would sing and lead worship, while I sang with him and played piano. Who was going to hit the arrow key on the computer to switch to the next song? me of course. while I played piano. Why wouldn't that work?!
Oh my it really did not. We set up our little service in the hall...and I remember feeling so nostalgic there. It reminded me of the grange hall in beaverton that my parents church had been at. That musty sort of smell that accompanies really old buildings, the yellowed walls, the peeling art that had aged over the years and looked like leather. There was even an open bar behind us and disco ball...Lord knows old folks like to get their boogy on.
Anyways. We set up. I begged my two children (22months and 3yrs) to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE sit still and not fight, I mean, how could I sing, play piano AND deal with children?! So we began, me playing keyboard, and hitting next after songs...but lo and behold, Emry wasn't having it. So then the piano would suddenly have to stop while I yanked a squirmy two year old up onto her chair, then the song wouldn't change because the old woman who had stayed to lock up after us was coaxing mailey to come sit with her unbeknownst to me. (is that even a word, unbenounced?unbeknownst?) But I remember that service so clearly its like it happened last week. I remember wandering around the building, imagining it full of people, peeking into the kitchen and imagining church potlucks...reading all the creeds on the wall in the foyer and wondering if I would stand there on Sundays next to John and greet folks.
But I think we only used it four or five times. The location was marvelous, but the building was old, and it was associated with BINGO...sadly, we had to continue searching.
Although it was stressful, I so enjoyed searching for buildings...peeking in windows of vacant store fronts, walking into empty buildings and hearing your footsteps echo and bounce off the walls. My mind would immediately begin to decorate this wall, create a little nook for nursery here, a space for pastor's office there...set up a table for coffee in this spot, and so on....my imagine would suddenly take flight when I would wander through these spaces.
But back to the Elks Lodge. We had one woman come that first service, I can't for the life of me remember her name, but she sat through that horrible song service and listened in earnest to the sermon, and at the end came crying to the altar and accepted Jesus Christ. I could hardly believe it. We soon got to know her little family. Two boys, both teenagers, J and T and a daughter, A and a younger daughter I don't remember. They were such a broken family. The boys were always high, and Allison dressed like she was trying to rival any standard hooker for who could show more skin. It was awful. These kids were so young, but they had already lived a thousand more lifetimes than I ever had. A was so sweet. Naive and ignorant, but at the same exact time, so full of street knowledge and so horribly touched by this world. She would come to our home for studies, with a skirt that barely covered her, and a shirt that exposed so much...and then she would get so sad as she talked about the girls at school and how they called her a slut, a whore, and an easy nobody...she truly never could understand why they would give her that label. I never could understand her confusion. Didn't she have a mirror? But her mother hadn't been a mother, just a friend and usually absent, and so she had raised her self...and her little mind hadn't been given the guidance and respect it needed, to see that she was portraying EXACTLY what those girls were saying.
A was a riot. She was a little chunky, and super cute, raspy voice and infectious grin..but good grief that girl did not have manners. I remember picking her up to take her to a revival service in Oroville, and stopping at Wendy's because she had said she was hungry. When I asked her to just order what she wanted, after I had ordered the chicken nuggets off the dollar menu, and a water, she heartily ordered the triple baconator, a chocolate milkshake, a coke, and extra large fries. I almost passed out.
who does that?!?!?! hahahaha....I had expected her to realize that I was obviously trying to not spend my life's savings on feeding one fourteen year old at Wendy's. She never got that memo apparently. That meal cost me fourteen dollars!!! Oh my goodness...I still laugh every time I think about it. I remember staring aghast at her as she just kept ordering as she leaned over my lap to yell out my window at the drive thru guy...it was ridiculous.