Left right after church last Sunday and headed to Birmingham via an overnight stop in Little Rock. My dad was having some surgery, and I wanted/needed to be down there. Flying into Birmingham was going to cost me a small child so the decision was to drive.
The short version of the trip is this – surgery went great. Dad is recovering nicely. He is now home. Personally, I can’t stand hospitals. Too much waiting, too much time to just sit. But I loved this time with Dad and Mary – my wonderful stepmother.
The longer version is this trip was some sort of a ‘returning homes’ trip. I drove through Little Rock – both coming and going – where Cayden was born and we spent close to 5 years. On the way there, I had the honor to spend the night with the Sudduth’s.
Scott and Beckie have been long-time friends and when we lived there, you never missed an opportunity to have dinner at their house. Never. It was an experience. Besides that, they were great friends. The long drive didn’t seem as long when Beckie met me in the driveway and gave me one of those ‘mom’ hugs. As I put my bag in the guest room, I noticed Scott had the steaks ready to grill, complete with a mushroom sauce that smelled like it was directly from Italy. A night with the Sudduths is a taste of heaven. Both in the company and the food.
The next morning was an early breakfast with Jim Mark Ingram. Jim Mark was an elder at where we served. We are both gone from that church, but Jim Mark is…well…Jim Mark is one of those guys that I’m not sure anything bad can be said about him. He’s always had a heart for kids and teenagers as evidenced by his years of support of Young Life, student ministry, Boy Scouts, and whatever other youth organization you can think of. It was a great time of catching up on our families.
In Birmingham, I got to grab some time with my favorite cousin ever – Connie. I was in love with Connie from age 7 to 13. She was beautiful, funny, southern, and smart. I was devastated when I found we were related. If we were living in Arkansas, maybe that sort of thing would have been tolerated, but in the high society circles of Alabama – we have standards. I still love Connie but I think my girls love her and her daughter more. She’s got goats, cows, bees, and whatever else kind of animal on their farm just north of Birmingham.
On the way back home, I swung back by Little Rock and grabbed lunch with one of my closest friends – Bruce. Over the most incredible ribs ever (The Whole Hog), we caught up on family, raising daughters, and faith.
In each of the instances, I’m struck how the conversations were so easy, so deep, so fast. Each relationship seeming to just pick up where we had last left it. Even after years of radio silence, there was this level of trust and vulnerability that didn’t seem to fade.
There is a love that is deeper than mere sentiment… Rich Mullins
After growing up in the military, moving around every 18 months and having lived in 6 different places as an adult, I have a different understanding of home than most. I don’t have ‘a place’ that I can drive up to and say – “This is my home!!” But what I do have are these relationships.
And that’s enough. More than enough.