Sunday, January 29, 2017

The right place

This was one of those days when I wish I could have been two places at once. 

Earlier in the month, I had marked today's date on my calendar because I wanted to go with Mom to attend the open house for longtime family friends' new ranch house in the Gainesville area.

Shortly after marking that date, I learned my home church's annual chili cook-off and talent show would be that same day in Norman. Gene and I enjoy the chili, and I also like the chance to sing in a less-formal setting than worship and support the chili cookers and the other performers. 

I decided to stick with my original plan, because it was a one-time thing, and the talent show happens every year.

Along the way, more things came up at my church in Norman that I didn't want to miss. And I was having doubts, as I often do, about whether it really was worth the time and gas to make a one-day trip to Texas.

Nevertheless, I got up early this morning and headed south from Norman. I hadn't been at Whaley United Methodist Church in Gainesville long before I knew I was where I was supposed to be. My sister said the choir could use me. They just had one soprano and wondered if I could be a quick-study on the anthem. I love to be asked to sing, so I was eager to give it a try. The anthem was a rousing number, "Move That Mountain, Lord." The fact that the rest of the choir knew it already helped me learn it easily. I was glad to sing along. Adding to my sense of belonging was that, besides my sister's encouragement, one of the other choir members made it sound like it was an answer to prayer for me to be singing with them, something she wished could happen regularly! (And I would love to sing with that choir -- but I also want to sing with the choir at my church in Norman.)

It just so happened that the pastor was out of town, so the choir director gave the sermon. And the message was on faith that moves mountains. All it takes is the faith the size of a mustard seed. He had prepared cards for each person with a mustard seed taped to it. The message was filled with joy and strong guidance for making sure we have love, joy, prayer, peace, Bible study and faithful action in our lives. And seeing as how he was doing everything else to lead the service, he did just a bit of a tap dance! Talk about inspiring!

From there I went to lunch with Mom, two of my sisters, a brother-in-law, niece and her four kids. Then Mom and I headed to the open house on a ranch in a part of the country that is very near and dear to my heart. I can't find words right now to  express the thoughts and feelings it evoked. Friendship. History. Memories. Families. Love. Heritage. Gratefulness. Spirit. Laughter. Smiles. Hospitality. I had instinctively known I didn't want to miss it. My instinct was right.

And then I headed back to Norman. Even though the cities are about 120 miles apart, I was able to make it back to Norman in time for the talent show at Goodrich Memorial UMC, where I met up with my husband, who was already there for the chili cook-off/dinner. He was just finishing with helping to put away the tables and chairs, so we headed to the show, which offered an interesting variety of entertainment. Conversations with people afterward again had me feeling I was at the right place!

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am blessed to have two churches where I feel loved and very much a part of the family. I had the hardest time deciding which place to be, but as the day unfolded, I knew I was at the right place. I thank God for that.

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