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!