This past weekend I briefly took a step back in time. I attended a reunion of friends from my youth. As a young girl I attended a Baptist Church and became very active within the youth group. We had a Pastor who loved the youth as well as his entire congregation and we had a youth leadership team who led us, and encouraged us to grow and to seek Jesus, we had a bond that was unshakable. Yes, we would argue and fuss at each other, but we truly loved each other and knew how to say those two little words “I’m sorry” Still today some of my greatest loves have come from this group; my life long best friends, respect for leadership who treated us like their own kids, and a love of the Lord that has grown stronger through time.
I was asked to document the weekend through photographs, which I did with portraits and candid moments, a book will be created from this collection and I look forward to working on that project.
The weekend began on Friday night with an informal gathering, skits, fun, and fellowship, reminiscent from days past. And of course it would not be a Baptist get-together without food, LOTS of food, an entire row of tables full of homemade fare.
We told stories and shared memories and hugged each other, laughed and ate (did I mention we had lots of food?). One of the event organizers created a beautiful slideshow of those who were once a part of us, but have now graduated to heaven. I never made it past the second slide before the tears started, even writing about it gets me choked up.
On Saturday evening, we met at a local restaurant in a private room. Again with stories, laughter, hugs and lots of great food! We gathered with some who could not attend on Friday and caught up with their life. The evening ended with a group photograph and singing. I’m sure the restaurant has never experienced anything like us before.
Sunday we gathered for worship as a group, and were surprised to see our very own Pastor Hammond in attendance. I cannot say enough about this man. He is gracious and loves the Lord. We could not wait to see him and talk to him, many of us ran to greet him before he even sat down. I was one of those, and he greeted me fondly by the nickname he had bestowed upon me years ago………’Trouble’, yes, I cried just hearing him call me that. There is a story behind the nickname, someday I will share that story.
As I sat in the service, I really can’t recall what the current minister was speaking on. My thoughts were encountering past memories, treasures of the mind; and for a time, we were teenagers, Pastor Hammond was up in the pulpit Randy Willett was sitting next to him, Tim Davis was at the Piano and Steve Wright was directing us youth in choir, and for a moment, time briefly stood still. My heart is still full, and my eyes are still leaking with the thoughts of those I love. We all experienced this weekend, those treasures in time.
Until we meet again……continue to let your light shine. “You are the light of the world, like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14