Circle of Life Moments & Other Stuff

Yesterday I had the privilege of officiating at the wedding of a young man who was a member of my very first youth group.  Fourteen years ago, I became the part-time youth director of a very small Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, FL.  We had six kids in our group.

On my last day four years later, there were almost fifty kids in attendance.

All because of those original six kids---who are all grown up now, many of them with spouses and families of their own.

It was a fine wedding.  I stood there in the church where I preached my first sermon.  It smelled the same---a combination of old wood and hymnals mixed with something else.  Many of the same people were there, only older and grayer---just like me.

It was a circle of life moment.

As I drove around Tallahassee, which was my home for nearly five years, the memories of those early days in ministry came rushing back to me.  Every corner we turned reminded me of that time of my life.   The canopy roads shrouded in oak trees seemed to me like the buttresses of a cathedral.

The whole place seemed holy for some reason.  Because in some many ways this road to ministry began here.

My wife, my oldest son and I were happy in Tallahassee.  We made memories of our own that I will never forget.  Yesterday my wife and I reminisced about some of the most poignant of those memories, and also some of the most mundane.

"Remember when we used to eat breakfast at that Chik-fil-A every Saturday before soccer games?"

"Remember when we took the youth group bowling there every month?"

"That used to be an Indian restaurant where we ate almost every week."

As we drove through the Florida State campus I had vivid memories of walking the sidewalks on my way to class.  I was an "old guy" in my classes then, a thirty year old student who was trying to find his way to something.

I could almost see myself as I peered through the misty rain.  Yes, there I was.  A little heavier, a little more earnest maybe... but walking underneath the oaks toward the Oglesby Union.

I wanted to get out of the car for a moment and rush after that younger man.

I wanted to tell him some things.

I wanted to tell him to cherish every single moment of that time, and to realize how precious it all was.

And I also wanted to tell him that what lay ahead was even better.
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