Past Chapter

Not too far from my grandparents here in the hills of Arkansas is a little white church. It feels a bit like it’s in the middle of nowhere, about 20 minutes from the nearest Wal-Mart…so that HAS to be the middle of nowhere, right?
It’s a special little church to me. We played there when we were a band…I think three times over the years. Such sweet people in that tiny little building. They loved us. REALLY loved us. The Naylor Family Band filled up the whole front part of the building, overflowing the stage and cramming in as best we could. Not just us, but all our instruments and sound system too. Yes…it was cozy. And one of those places that we could pretty much expect to have a full house whenever we were there. Standing room only. I mean it! Such a tiny building! Those people worked hard to get a good crowd for us, and of course had an amazing potluck in the basement every time. Enough egg salad sandwiches to feed the entire state of Arkansas, plus some. And desserts…oh my. Never could you wish to see more banana pudding than at that spread. They opened their church and their beautiful hearts to us when we came. They made us part of their family. They showed support every way they could. I hope to never forget the way that felt. I hope to be that for others.
One of my fondest memories from there…after a concert, an older lady came up to me, grabbed my arm and said, “I love seeing you up there!!! I can’t hear A WORD you say, but I just LOVE watching you all!!!” I smile every single time I think of that.
I’ve been to church there a couple of times now that I’m here. They show that same love and welcome every time I come. It’s nice.
Tonight I went to hear a music group called “Proof of Mercy” play at the little white church. The memories started this morning. Thoughts like, “I wonder if this group is practicing this morning like we always did before a concert?” Then this afternoon, “I wonder how early they have to get to the church to  set up and do a sound check?” “I wonder if they use a sound system and how many members are in their band.” “I wonder if they’ll get a good crowd.” “I wonder if they are nervous.”
Proof of Mercy is a three member singing group. All locals. Grandparents and aunts and parents and children in the audience. They were completely at home in the church. I watched them sing and play. I listened to them harmonize.
I recognized a couple of songs that they did as some that we did as a family.
And I missed the band.
I miss making music with my family. I miss sharing music with people who love us. I miss “belonging” to that group of people who call themselves musicians and travel around and sing and play and glorify God with what they are doing. I miss the opportunities that it affords to share about Christ.
I sat there, remembering what it was like as if being a band was a lifetime ago. Almost as if it was completely detached from me completely. Like it was someone else who did that. And it made me sad.
Just spent some time looking through old journal entries from our band’s website. A site that probably won’t be around much longer. But we DID do those things. We took those trips and met those people and had those incredible experiences. And I’m grateful. It wasn’t always fun. We had a lot of hard times as a family band. But I’d do it again. Absolutely, I would.
It’s a past chapter…but what an adventure it was!
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5 thoughts on “Past Chapter

  1. Oh, that makes me sad….I always watch people sing and play and just wish I could do that! I'm so glad you all did! I always look back on how things change and feel a bit uneasy…like I want to hold on to it somehow. Amos is always encouraging me to look back with thankfulness and to look forward with excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead! I don't know what God has in store for you, but I know that whatever it is it will be just amazing. Whether in grandeur or simplicity, it will be exactly what you need. I hope for you, as I do for myself, that as you go about doing whatever it is that He would have for you to do; that you will KNOW you're doing His will, and that you are thankful for it and joyful in doing it! I do know this. As much as I love to hear you play and sing, I have been more touched and have been most encouraged by the little things you do and say. Things you may never even think of. Things you do just by being you. Encouraging with your words and praise, being honest and real, showing an interest in what others do, playing with my kids in the leaves, flashing that smile that lights up a room….I KNOW why the lady likes to look at ya!!! I often wondered in the Bible where it talks of the first being last, and the last being first, what that meant. Wouldn't a person then just TRY to put themselves last as nature would draw them to even do THAT, if they could, with the ultimate goal(however secretly they may do it) of being FIRST?! Who doesn't want to be first? What a mess, really?! Until I understood…LAST IS FIRST! That position of serving others, giving to others, putting others first, thinking of others and not self…THAT IS IT! THAT is the attainable place to be! THAT is what we strive for! Where "I" is no longer an issue, and "you", "you", "you", "you", "you", "you", and "you" is ALL we can see! How glorious would THAT be?!!!!! Oh boy! I've "rambled" up your page! Just want to encourage you. Just want to let you know that everything you do as unto the Lord is such a service and a blessing. Having said all this, if you all DO play together again, I better get an invitation!!! 😉

  2. Oh, wow! First I have to say, Sage, you've brought back so many memories. What a time we had!And Paula…I had tears in my eyes reading Sage's post and then got more tears reading your comment! It is so true what you are saying. And it was not too long ago that I realized how much more blessed it is being a servant (being last). When I stayed up late one night to finish doing John's laundry, because he was leaving on a trip the next morning, and the way he showed his appreciation and love for me after doing that little deed of service, it just became vividly etched in my mind, that doing the little things for others was more important than any "great" thing we can do.Thanks both of you for the beautiful reminders and you both are incredible writers! ❤ ❤

  3. This is truly lovely! I almost felt like i was standing in that little white church when reading this 🙂 Makes me think of Philippians 3:14

  4. Paula, thank you SO much for your comment. Mom is right, you should have a blog!!! "look back with thankfulness and to look forward with excitement and anticipation of what lies ahead!" SO TRUE!!! You definitely encourage me…here with this comment, with all our communications, and with your life. Thank you!!! I love you!!!Yes, Mom…we certainly had a time!!! ❤ Rachel, I'm glad you felt that way! It's encouraging to know. Thanks! Tera, I hope they were good tears! 😉

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