"Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words." - St. Francis of Assisi

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Thinking Back, Looking Forward

My parents recently bought some new furniture for their screen porch and I inherited a pair of old metal chairs in the process. These chairs are as old as I can remember and are the good substantial type of chairs that you can no longer buy. I remember many evenings and weekends spent on the back patio or the front porch sitting in these chairs just watching cars go buy, watching planes fly over and waving to all the neighbors when they passed. I dreamed of 'what I was going to do when I grew up' in them, studied for school, visited with family and friends, watched my sister flirt with the guy working on the street sewers and, well, you can tell the chairs saw a lot of our family life.

Today has been a great day in the Atlanta weather scene.....the type of day we long for when the hot and muggy summer finally arrives in full force. I was sitting out on my front walk this evening and as I slightly rocked back and forth, my mind drifted back to so many things from days gone by that I miss and will never experience again. It was not a maudlin time of sentimentality, but an enjoyable walk down memory lane. So, without further ado, here's my top list of things I miss the most:

1. Starting with the obvious, I miss the full, thick head of hair I had in earlier years.

2. I miss playing outside until after dark with the neighborhood kids and hearing all the screen doors slam open as our Moms would call us home in unison.

3. Playing the outdoor games like "Swing Statue", "Red Light", "Red Rover", Wiffle Ball and the skateboard of my generation which was a 2x4 with your old metal roller skates (you know, the kind with the skate key) nailed to the bottom of the board. You couldn't turn or manuever, you just went where gravity took you.

4. The thrill of going to Sunday School in the children's department because you knew there would be a cool flannelgraph lesson and Kool-Aid and butter cookies to stick on your fingers.

5. I miss eating dinner with my family every night around our old rectangular pine table my Dad built. No television was allowed during meals (and still isn't) and now I realize now that the 'forced' communication between us was more important than staring at a (then) small black & white screen.

6. I miss our Saturday night rituals of Spaghetti for supper, watching "Lost in Space" afterward, baths for all, then studying our Bibles and putting some change in our offering envelopes for church the next morning.

7. I miss the innocence of childhood - when I believed that Live Atlanta Wrestling was real and when there was an actual Birthday Bunny to bring presents (what can I say...my family is a bit on the freelance side).

8. Catching lightning bugs in a jar, chasing small frogs down the street, swinging on a rope swing across the creek, sitting in our treehouse with my girlfriend and reading Hardy Boy (me) and Nancy Drew (her) books, riding go-carts all over the neighborhood, and taking swimming lessons in a pretty nasty green-tinted pool.

9. I miss the education of all levels of school; elementary, secondary, university and seminary. My mind thrives on stimulation and I never want it to grow stale.

10.I remember the thrill of learning to play the piano, the awesome revelation that this gift came from God and the worship that it still brings me each Sunday as I play for my church.

11. I miss the days when all we had to worry about was whether to buy Goobers or Raisinets at the moviehouse down the street, not whether the language was going to be foul or the violence too gruesome. Kids today grow up far too quickly.

12. PONG, my first Apple IIE computer and my favorite fountain pen that would release my mind and heart onto paper.

13. Cruising up I-16 and I-75 on the way home from college, windows down on my '65 Chevy Impala and the 8-track blasting the best tunes possible.

14. How excited I was to get my first job out of college making a whopping $100/week. I could actually go buy my own ice cream at Dairy Queen.

15. I miss all my friends from the church youth group in high school and my gang from college. Many of them I still keep in touch with, many have passed from this life and many I always wonder where they ended up.

16. Being stupid enough to think a group of juniors in high school could actually hijack a school bus for a joyride and not get into trouble.

Folks, as memory after memory flashed back while I sat rocking slowly in the front yard, I realized that no matter how cruddy things may get each day, that the SAME God who was with me during my younger years is the SAME God who is with me today. At the time many of the above was happening, they didn't seem to be so great, but now looking back they were way cool. In another few decades as I look back on these years, I know I'll be led and comforted by the SAME God as today. The SAME God who led Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and Moses....who spoke to Paul on his way to Damascus....who revealed himself as a man in the person of Jesus....who died for me (ME!), defeated the bonds of death and is now preparing a future that my human mind cannot conceive.

Think back , look forward and remember that God is the one constant through it all. Regardless of whether your life has been good, bad or tragic; if you know God personally then your hope is bright and your future is eternal.

Oh yeah....I survived the DiscipleNow weekend with only a couple scrapes and bruises. The 12th grade guys I led were the best group yet and I think I was blessed more by them than they were by me. Well, except for the "Night of the Full Moon" (if you know what I mean). And then there was that whole Karaoke birthday party thing (more on that later). Thanks Seth, Cam, John, Jamey and Cade for letting this old man into your world for those few days and being the fine Christian young men that you are.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.


At 6:36 AM, Blogger *~Tey~* said...

that is a fine post and a wonderful set of memories. God Bless you and thank you for sharing!

At 12:25 PM, Blogger Janice said...


Your story brings back memories of my own. They are different than yours, of course, but we all grow nostalgic now and then.

I hope you and your folks are doing well.


At 1:20 PM, Blogger PresentStorm said...

I am with Janice .. you took me down memory lane as well with that. I have so many of the same very fond memories of childhood. Thank you for that.

and you are so right God is still the same God and that is awesome to know.

God bless and have a very blessed weekend!

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Suzii said...

Your memories flashed through my mind... mingled with some of my own... and as I tried to continue reading through the stream of tears rolling down my cheeks... I realized that... YES... We are all connected... by the same God... each with our own memories that intermingle with someone else's because of the grace of His love in our hearts.

It is God's everpresence in my life... that humbles me... He loves me... "even when I".......

At 12:23 AM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Great post Jimmy. I have those times of remembering too, I'm sure everyone does, but not many can express it as well as you did.

At 7:13 PM, Blogger Vicki said...

Oh, you've got me going down memory lane now. Nice post, Jimmy! Not only do I miss being young, I miss my children being younger and still at home.

Thanks for the wonderful comment at my new blog recently. Was good to see you there!

At 9:09 PM, Blogger JOE B said...

Jimmy, I bet I can guess so other things you miss.
-Walking to school uphill, both ways, in the snow five foot tall. Oh wait you are from Atlanta. Ok. Not walking to school because it was canceled because the weather people said there was a chance for snow.
-Cranking your record player before using it.
-Using the room outside with the little moon cut in the door.
-Hitching up the horse before going to church.
HEHE...Sorry buddy I just had to get in a few shots. I have not had a chance to get to talk to you much since you so called "retired".

I remember some of the old days too. Going to the Varsity with an old buddy when he worked down town. Planning a cook out and actually doing it and had a great time in the process. Having the guys over and just doing nothing. Wathing 24 while sitting in front of the computer and instant messaging your bud when something cool happened.
Sorry, this was just to good of a chance to pass up. I will quit messing with you know.
It really was a good post Jimmy. I am glad to see you are starting to post stuff again.

Waiting to hear your response (that is if you still have it in you lol),
Joe B

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Hey Jimmy,

Awesome post my friend!

Remembering, thinking back and looking forward, indeed the Lord is the one constant. He has always been there.

Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement my friend!

It is raining over here in Kennesaw. I nice cool Friday evening here at Starbucks!

Blessings my friend!

Writing for the King,


At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Damian Q said...

I can honestly say that I don't miss the chores, like cutting the grass, when I was a youngster still living with Mom and Dad.

Funny thing, though, I really don't look forward to cutting the grass I own now that I'm an adult, either!

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Harriet said...

Memories are a constant reminder from God as affirmation of who we are in His sight and what He has in store for our rich future!!

Thanks for slicing into your memories, Jimmy!

Look up, Harriet


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