Rustlings (March 2, 2015)

I rolled my suitcase into the third floor, king bed, non-smoking room of the Hampton Inn in Dalton, Georgia. I sat on the edge of the bed and looked around. It all looked familiar: the bed, the desk and swivel chair, the television and accompanying remote control, the single sitting chair with lamp, the closet with mirrored doors, the lavatory with single servings of soap, shampoo and conditioner, and the bathroom with artistically twisted towels. Before serving as pastor of First Baptist Greenville, I spent about forty weeks a year – for a little over two years – in hotels, conference centers and retreat centers. The room looked familiar…

I had a wonderful time with the people of First Baptist Church, Dalton, Georgia. The people were engaged, God’s Spirit was present and the ensuing fellowship was warm. Like all retreats, I knew my time with them was limited and by next week we’d both be living life on different trajectories. It was a brief encounter – a meaningful encounter – but not an ongoing relationship…

I unpacked my suitcase at my condo last night, took a shower in my shower, plopped onto my bed, put my head on my pillow and watched the archived Livestream broadcast of this past Sunday’s service. (Did you really vote unanimously for me to take Kyle to lunch?!? I’m smiling.) Today I pulled into my usual parking space at 847 Cleveland Street, walked into the church, dropped my backpack in my office and am sitting in the Sanctuary – under the tree – writing my ‘Rustlings’ article. It’s good to be home…to have a place to call home. I missed you…

Jim