CCFairgrove: Harbor for this Battered Ship

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 I knew I wanted to write a blog post today but I did not think it would actually be tomorrow when I actually sat out here and wrote it. Instead of writing the blog I went over to my bro's house and watched the Panthers win their second preseason game against the NY Jets. It was lovely!

Today has been a rather bitter and sweet day for me. Today was my final Sunday at CCFairgrove. We started going to Fairgrove back in 2010. That was, without a doubt, one of the lowest points of my life. I was a mess when I came there. I was depressed and filled with regret, dread and bitterness. So when we got here I was determined to just be. I did not have desire one to develop any new friendships--at that campus or any of our campuses.

I was content to have our best friends and the three or so other couples who we considered friends whom we met because of them. That did not last long. It became clear to me:--after some time--"Ray was not built to close off himself emotionally from people." So, today when the closing song was sang, it dawned on me that I would not worship (on any consistent basis) with these people whom I have grown to love.

It dawned on me that I would not sit in the congregation and hear my best friend share his heart with passion and total abandon. It dawned on me that I would not get to go over to the children's wing and get my four-year-old godson. He would not see me outside of the door and run to me saying, "Hey Ray!" in that cute southern drawl that I have grown to love. The reality that I would not get the chance to make inside jokes with Camille during the service hit me like a truck load of rocks being poured! I wouldn't get the chance to get one of those trademark Camille "Umph. Umph." before and after church on Sunday. I remembered that I would not hear "Mom" say to me--with her trademark and special smile--"Hey Raymond!" as I walked down the hill onto the patio. On Sunday, I will not get the chance to do the awkward turtle and when it is really awkward do the dual awkward palm tree with Chip. Next Sunday when I am at University City, The Deals will not be there to give me hugs! The kids will not run up to me and say, "Ray-Ray!". I won't see my lifegroup at UCUMC! Next week, my brother Shaun will not be there to give me the much anticipated jab about me being a liberal or Obama being all wrong for America. There are so many things that I will miss about Christ Church-Fairgrove. I am most sad that I will not get to see all that God has in store with that great campus. The atmosphere is infectious. The people are engaging and friendly. The Campus Pastor is my best friend who I have seen grow exponentially! I will miss--so sincerely--the folks at Fairgrove who have rocked my life.

I don't even want to think about what happens when we actually move at the end of the month. Then the reality of the distance between my closest HKY friends really comes into reality. The Smiths. The McGees. The Drums. The Cravens. The Chatfields. The Deals. The Anthonys. The Hoyles. Alex "D-Tron". The Jessmers. Betty O. My Lifegroup friends. My Engage friends. There will be distance--not much--but distance nonetheless. The dynamics will change. The friendships will not end but in all reality, things will change. That is the harsh reality when we move; when we change up things. I look forward, however, to the challenge of maintaining each of these relationships.

Although I am saddened, scared and anxious I am confident that God has opened this door over at University City. Thinking about all that God wants to do in and through me there excites me! So, while I leave here with the aforementioned feelings, I run forward to this new chapter with excitement, eagerness and faith in God.
Thank you, CCFairgrove and Christ Church proper for touching my life. Thank you for being a harbor for this battered ship. Thank you for showing me how to love, trust, forgive and live again. God has used you as a vessel and all that I have gleaned and learned from you I will take it to Charlotte and share with the folks there. I will forever love Christ Church and most especially CCFairgrove.
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