Tina and I had talked about a lot of things over the course of the afternoon….what a find she was on this glorious Sunday….when she mentioned that she had decided to wait until Monday to drive back to Atlanta. She said that Sunday should be the day for doing what you wanted to do not what you had to do. And that leaving the island belonged to Monday not Sunday. All the things that I had left undone had tried to keep into my head at different times and I kept thrusting them away. Now I thought, “you’re right, those things belong to Monday” and I shut the door firmly. So what if I didn’t fold the laundry, or vacuum, or make up my meeting agenda, or label awards, or check in with work, or hem my pants. Instead, I laughed and sang and worshiped and talked and listened, and started the journey of turning acquaintances into friends.
I began my day with writing and then a few chores but at 9:30 am I abandoned the rest and headed for Tybee and Bar Church, and the hope of making new friends. I still remember the horrible feeling of trying to join a group in the schoolyard and being rejected. First, the group look…”you want to play with us?”, and then “sorry our game is closed”, and worst of all were the giggles that followed me as I slowly walked away. I never had trouble fitting in with the boys but girl groups were always closed to me. I had 3 or 4 close girlfriends but something happened when there were more than 3 girls together. I always end up on the outside, not understanding the jokes or the shifting alliances.
It didn’t help that there was never any doubt when I was embarrassed…my face turned bright red, which made me more embarrassed, which made my face redder, which…well you get the picture. Painful, physically painful, when someone points and says “look how red she’s getting”, and everyone laughs. As the years went on I learned to control my mortification, but when I walk into a new place with new people I still feel the blood rush to my face. They’re looking at me, they won’t like me, I don’t belong.
A good thing about Bar Church…the lighting is bit dim…so Sam couldn’t see how flushed I got the first time I met him when he found me hiding in the back corner. I’m glad he did since his warmth eased my fears and brought me back. Now I can’t imagine going back to a conventional church.
Anyway I arrived, found a place to park, wrestled with the Pay-to-Park meter that didn’t want to take my money, walked in and got a hug from Dedra and Michael, met Sandy and took a seat at the bar. I’m not big on praise and worship songs, give me a good old-fashioned hymn to belt out, but when Gordon launches in with his harmonica I feel transcended by the music. The message he gave was so timely, based on Oswald Chamber devotional book My Utmost for Your Highest, Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest". Rest, that was the reason I escaped to the island this morning. Then Michael dragged Dedra, protesting all the way, up to dance while Debi Burk Scott sang and it was holy. Church the way God intended it to be; wounded, hurting people that grab on to faith and find joy, and love, and help and turn around to throw those feeling out to be caught by the next person in need. I wish I had had the courage to get up and dance too. I need more lessons from Michael.
Then I was invited to the luncheon Bored meeting held after church (and every other day of the week). What a delight. I met the members that I had been reading about for so many months. And I didn’t blush, I wasn’t embarrassed, I felt comfortable. More talk, lots of laughs, a few drinks and a mini-burger later and the group flexed and broke up to take care of their individual concerns. I begged a table and chair from Dedra and did some computer work that I had been putting off. And it didn’t feel like work, it was a hiatus between one bit of syncopation and the next. Syncopation is, of course, an uneven movement from bar to bar.
Down to Marlin Monroe’s for what was a truly interesting musical experience. Sitting on the deck watching the ocean and the seagulls hovering in the wind was peaceful and uplifting. It was time to move on but, despite work the next day, I wasn’t ready to leave the island yet. So I didn’t. Dinner and then we ended up where I started, at the Windrose listening to Sam and Gordon and Davy (I hope that’s his name) play. I knew the sand was running out of the hourglass for me and would have to go soon. I was enjoying my conversation with Tina and would have liked to stay longer but it was time to go. A chat with Gordon during the break and a goodbye hug from Sam to completed the circle from the morning, I left feeling joy and peace and hope and a belonging that I hadn’t felt for a long time. As I drove over the causeway I took that peace and joy and tucked it into my heart, where it sits ready for me to draw on during the week to come.