June 26, 2005

Santa Cruz, part 1

Today after church, I built a wall. I built it high. I built it all around me, so that I could hide.

Inside the wall I had built, I read (On Writing, by Stephen King), then I slept, and then I read some more. Other people, lots of them, were all around me, but I couldn't see them or hear them. I was somewhere else.

I had to escape today, and since I couldn't do it physically, I did it mentally. My wife, bless her, allowed me to escape, even though I think she felt like escaping too. I had to escape, because the world outside my wall, though good and even fun in many ways, had become too much like a rock concert, filling my head with so much noise that I needed a break to allow the ringing to fade away.

I had thought that a trip to Santa Cruz would be the break I needed, but for so many reasons, it was not. The rock concert---no, more like rock festival---continued in full swing. Fun, yes. Relaxing, no. The introvert that I am needed to get away.

It began four weeks ago. I found out that I was supposed to attend a meeting of the Miracle Day Committee, at Garfield Park Christian Church in Santa Cruz. (Miracle Day is our version of an extreme church makeover; Garfield Park is one of the three Miracle Day churches; Fairview Church, where I am pastor, is another.) So, I made plans to drive down to Santa Cruz, a 3-hour drive, to attend this meeting.

Three weeks ago, when I told her about the meeting, my wife Ginger said, "Let's both go down the night before, just you and me. We can stay in a hotel, have dinner, go for a walk on the boardwalk, and you can still attend the meeting." This sounded great to me, and we began making plans. However, for several reasons, one of which was being unable to find someone to stay with our boys, it soon became clear that those plans were not going to work out. So....

Two weeks ago, we decided to make it a family trip. We'll all go to Santa Cruz, and enjoy some family time on the beach and the boardwalk, and I'd still go to my meeting. We could even camp on Friday night. What fun! But then, our other boys heard about our plans, and so....

One week ago, Stephen and Spencer, the 13- and 15-year old brothers who have adopted us as their second family, said they want to go. The two of them and the four of us makes six people, a rather crowded load for our Pontiac Boneville, but still do-able. Ginger and I talked about it with each other, then we talked about it with their parents. We hadn't yet made up our minds, but Stephen and Spencer had. So our weekeend away was now set to be a party of six.

On the day of our departure, neighbor kid Dallas showed up, and upset that his friends Stephen and Spencer get to go on this fun trip to Santa Cruz while he gets left behind. By 3:00, our hoped-for departure time, emotions were running high and a little out of control as all of us tried to decide who got to come and who got left behind. No one seemed to be able to agree on a plan, including my wife and I, and we came very close to calling the whole thing off. But instead, at 5:00 we pulled out of our driveway, the party of seven now split up between both of our cars, and we headed for Santa Cruz. As we headed southwest down the interstate, I shook my head in disbelief at the crazy things we do, but I still wondered and even dared to hope that perhaps I would still find the rest and relaxation I needed.

It was not to be.

To be continued.

1 comment:

mark said...

Okay, I haven't read Part 2 yet, so I do not know how it ends, but I would say that you are incredibly blessed to be such a part of these teenagers' lives that they want to spend time with you. And they are lucky to have another set of caring adults who take a genuine interest in their lives.
So, now I'm going to go read part 2 and hopefully things go well and you enjoyed your time spent with all of "your kids."