Sunday, June 25, 2006

Off the Beaten Path

It's been no shock to Happiness readers that this fam has been limping a bit. (Emotionally and looks as though my poor hubby has heel-spurs that make walking incredibly painful). A friend mentioned that psych test where you get a certain number of points for the stressors you've had in the last 12 months and I looked it up: A high number is 300. I scored a 356.

So this morning, I woke up with a whim, or whatever is exactly one notch up from a whim, maybe a yen. We had some french toast, got dressed and went to church. Not a big , fancy-schmancy church. Not a user-friendly church where you can slip in the back and anonymously warm the pew. Nope. We went to a Primitive Regular Baptist, established in 1883, little white church in the Wildwood on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere.

I found it a couple of days ago while scouting out an estate sale; in fact, true confessions, if we didn't make it the service, I knew that the estate sale was still going on.

So we drove about 45 minutes to get there, and Robb popped in a CD called "The Longing " and between the music and prairie-clean quality of the mountain views, I didn't know if I was worshiping or if my heart was breaking or both.

I was pleasantly surprised to find it air-conditioned, but unpleasantly surprised to find that it had been redone inside and therefore had completely lost the "old church smell." Of course, we added to their number by at least a third and they all stopped whatever they were doing to greet us exhuberantly. We were led in singing from the Heavenly Highway Hymnal, including a hymn I actually didn't know. Though almost everyone was kissing-ancient, a very sparkly magnent of a little girl, about Mattie's age, came to greet us. She had a rare quality of being very much a little girl with a charming simple innocence, all the while seeming curiously like a polite old lady. She came down the aisle to us after the singing to ask if she could sit with Mattie. Her father was filling the pulpit that morning, and they sang a duet. She had perfect pitch. The sermon was completely extemporaneous, and we were assurred by the preacher of two things: our children were completley welcome in the service, noise and all, and that it was no accident that God had brought us there that day. I found that rather refreshing.

It reminded us much of our "just starting out" days at South Baptist Church, where everyone had grandchildren that were older than us. And what headaches and heartaches we had there. And how we loved them.

I guess it was homesickness that took me there this morning. The wave of nostalgia when we stood to sing "Just As I Am" at the end might have knocked me over if it weren't for a firm grip on the back of the pew in front of me. A longing for something simple, where the bar is low and expectations for success are non-existent....truly...we called my father-in-law for a refresher on what Primitive Regular Baptist are and found that they are so hyper-Calvinistic that they don't believe in missions, evangelism or tracts. It's all up to God according to them. Well...yeah...sort of.

We asked the kids what they thought and Vin declared it "BOOOOORING" but Mattie liked it. She has an old soul too sometimes.


Darla said...

i love this story - every detail of it... it reminds me of my grandmother. she went to a tiny primitive baptist church.... i can still remember singing, just a closer walk, and in the garden... she had such a lovely voice. and because they don't believe in instruments either, it was all done accapella... well, they may have instruments now... but back then, no instruments... and it did then and still does to this day have the old church smell (my aunt and uncle still go there, and we went back for my uncle's ordination service when he became a deacon)...

thanks for the trip down memory lane!

klasieprof said...

Hey..I can't find or remember what that "life Stressors" test is called. Its like 50 points for a move, 10 for Christmas etc...
Did find this one...LOL..

This questionnaire is designed to give you a sense of what stress means. Please answer "Yes" or "No" to each of the questions below.

Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep?
Are you constantly worry about your future?
Do you feel like you are under pressure to "get things finished"?
Do you use drugs or alcohol to relax or reduce tension?
Do you often feel that you have less energy than you need to finish the day?
Are stomach aches and/or headaches a common problem for you?
Are you often overly concerned with being "liked" or "accepted".
Do you have trouble finding time to have fun and enjoy yourself?
Is it common for you to feel pressured to do more things than you have time for?
Is it difficult for you to find satisfaction in the simple pleasures of life?
Score 1 point for each question answered "Yes". The higher your score, the more likely it is that you may be experiencing some sort of stress.

ness said...

gee, i was waiting for the score one point for each, the higher the score, the more likely that you are a wife and mother!

ness said...

Darla, they did indeed have instruments. They tortured a piano through three songs...having tortured a few pianos myself, it only added to my sense of my not being able to screw up much while being there.

what IS that smell anyway?

Murphy's Oil Soap and Rosemilk, maybe?

courtney said...

sounds about right, Ness. Grandma's back steps kind of had that smell. We had an urbanized version of this story happen to us Friday in Pittsburgh when we stopped a church-run coffee shop on the corner of the street we're going to live on. We've been adopted by two middle-aged women who work there, training kids how to have job skills. It was one of those "I don't know you but we see the world with the same kind of glasses" kind of moments and it totally refreshed my soul during this whole "move my baby to the big-city" issue. God bless the good women out there.

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