How-well, MI. Son!
January 2, 2014
Written June, 2013
Ever-changing, we are. Constantly striving to make us better. Bringing back times of greatness when we find ourselves desolate, and we do find ourselves there. The few months before going to Michigan I found myself reminiscing of times-flown-by. On top of that, I was working on ways to bring back the good ‘ole days. They’ve got to be up there somewhere! I was looking forward to walking around and seeing my hometown of Howell with “new eyes”. Some clearer vision to see the place where I grew up for what it was. Not what I remember or what I fantasized it could be this time around.
What I had failed to remember is this – I’m not the same person and this town is filled with a lot of new different people. Even the landscape is different in certain places because of the people. Granted, the majority of landmarks key in my childhood were still intact, but the interior of the Howell Taco Bell had been remodeled. Same on the outside, different on the inside. Driving by earlier in the day, I could see from the windows that it had some work done. I parked in front of the courthouse or Grand River. I was driving our mini-van, I wasn’t driving a 1981 bright-yellow 4 door Chevette, which I drove in High School. I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think The Ku Klux Klan has had a rally inside of a fence on the grounds of the courthouse in some time. But, the Dairy-Queen (which was added before I left town) was still on the corner, right by the courthouse. There was a new Skate Shop (called The Skater’s Advocate. Awesome name, by the way. We all know skaters are the devil!) just behind the Dairy-Queen, I needed to grab some internet, so I walked over and in. The guy at the counter, I think his name was Bill was super-cool. I told him I grew up here, am working on a book and was looking to get some thoughts down. He said “go for it, man”, or something like that. I did. After reading what I had written in the shop when I got back to Columbia, I feel differently about them and am not going to use them. Hmm.. I’m headed somewhere, can you guess where to?!
So, from the Skate Shop to The Howell Carnige Library. This was one place still standing, that I never stepped foot in while growing up. So, up the steps and open the door. The library had undergone an interior remodeling as well! Sheesh, the glory of it all. A wonderful insightful stream of thought was unfolding. I asked the librarian for a pen and paper (I put the computer back in the van before coming to the library). I looked for a couple books, so I’d look like I was supposed to be there and found a nice place to sit and write some stuff down. I was excited about what was pouring out of the pen onto the paper. I was getting out exactly what I was thinking. Done! Ahh.. (when back in Columbia I did some laundry and found those thoughts washed into a wad of paper. I was kinda bummed, but whatever)
I got up, returned the pen and moseyed to the front lobby. I looked at some Christian cds for a second and then walked out the door. Down the steps and over to the left. I passed the auto-window place and Guss’s Carry out. Both still in operation. I passed the little indoor plaza at the end where I used to buy and trade baseball and basketball cards. Now a jewelry store.. Proceeded to Main St, I crossed to the South side of Grand River, down Main Street a little bit and then back up. By this time, the burger and fries and Coke I had eaten in Farmington was hollerin’ at me. I was seeing a ton of those floaties in my eyes and my mind was drifting into Meta-scape. I was getting tired of thinking and of working so hard to re-create times passed. I was getting nothing of “feeling”. No thoughts of Smashing Pumpkins or hall wandering in Howell High School. No baseball strike-outs and no locking my keys in the car at the Clark Station which I was passing now. Lies! I thought about it. I remembered how pissed and embarrassed I was. I quickly let that go because I was on my walking way to the building that held my first Grocery Bagger position. Sefa’s Market. I knew it had been purchased by another company, so I wasn’t expecting to see the Sefa’s sign.
Still on Grand River, passing the police station I was about to catch a glimpse of my old workplace. I did. It had been closed down. Looked condemned, to me that is. Inoperable. No one walking in or out, no exchange of funds for food. No children pestering Moms for candy. Bewilderment. Ever-changing.
It led me here. Humans are changing constantly. Even when we feel as stagnant as ever, we’re in motion. We may be dependable at one point, and then flaky at another. We may be angry for years and then able to slow down, peacefully. We can’t really count on us.
I was expecting this town to have waited for me. Over all these years, to let me see it the exact same as when I left it. Like, I was the only reason this town was here in the first place. But, while looking at historic photos on the wall in the library, I realized there were people living in this land-unchanging before I did! Blasted! And, to make things even more incredible, like I said, there are people still living here.. And completely different people, at that!
The lion’s share of the town was still the same, but there had been some things altered. Men and Women have altered them. They’ve plowed new roads, changed up streets, built new buildings and tore some down. New streetlights and new schools. Planted new grass and were eating at different restaurants. They hadn’t waited for me in the least! Haha! Of course, they’ve changed!
With all of the changing going on and how I think and feel differently about the changes they’ve made to my home-town and how I’ve let other people and towns change me it brought me, once again, to the consistency of The Father. Sure, there probably have been folks in the past knee-boarding the same thought-waves, but it hit me like a ton of Tacos!
God doesn’t change. We are always changing, most of the time it’s for our gain. Adding more and more when we should be subtracting. Re-creating the past, even when the past could’ve been infinitely more difficult than “the now”. Because, somehow, in our emotional, romancing mind “now” is harder than then. Maybe it’s because we made it through “then”, and we will make it through “now”. I mean, you just did. And, there.. You just did it again! And, again! See? Smiley face.
(this is our old house)
So, if The Father is unchanging and our lives are ever-changing, wouldn’t it make some sense to find ourselves in the Foundation during the cyclone? To somehow stay on the ground when all the wind and water works so hard to whip us away? The fruits of the Spirit, The laws regarding what to eat and what not to eat in the Torah? Allowing ourselves to be forgiven and to forgive? Even the 10 Commandments! Oh man, it gets even better! It even seems to be literal! I can’t believe I believe that! 5 years ago, there was no way I could be convinced that an “adulterated” book of life lessons and parables could be, like, so literal man.
In a book Christina read a while back the author writes something like – When you read the Bible, whatever you’re looking for you’ll find. If you’re looking for war, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for deception, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for something to argue with, you’ll find it. In the same way, if you’re looking for forgiveness and how to forgive, you’ll find it. If you’re looking for peace, you’ll find it. And, if you’re looking nice little stories, you’ll find them.
Draw near to The Father and He will draw near to you.