Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ivory Avenue

“I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 1-3; John 5:25-47

I did not feel like going to church on Saturday.

My dad’s church, Simi Valley Christian Center, is in Simi Valley. This is forty miles away from where I live in Culver City. If that weren’t enough, it is on Saturday evenings at 6pm! It makes sense though given that it is a new church and the kinds of folks that attend (the blended family is one of his ministry focuses and it is much easier to get your kids together at 6pm than Sunday morning).

But, it’s rough on your boy.

The last several Saturdays I have gotten in my car and started to head down there but ridiculous traffic always discouraged me. Plus, I’ve got things to do on Saturdays and it kinda breaks up the flow.

So I wasn’t feelin’ going AT ALL and I had almost decided that I wouldn’t go when I was talking to my girlfriend. She asked if I was going to go and I hesitated… to which she responded “didn’t you tell me that it’s moments like these, when you don’t want to do something, that you have to do it!?”


So I get in my car and head down the road earlier than usual to make sure that I get there on time. Of course as is usually the case in such situations there was very little traffic so I end up getting there about a half hour early.

What am I going to do with all of that time?

Then it hit me… I haven’t gone by the old neighborhood in a long while. So, when I exited Tapo Canyon Rd I turned right instead of left and went by the house that I grew up in all the way through high school.

It was such a wonderful experience.

As I drove down these familiar streets all of these wonderful memories from my childhood welled up in me. I remembered riding bikes down Alamo with my sisters, going up and down the hilly sidewalks pretending that I was going a hundred miles an hour. I remembered riding down Galena to the shopping center. We used feast on 99 cent Whoppers during breaks from playing videogames on the game console displays in Target. I remember going to the comic book store with my friends waiting for the new releases to come out. We had fun trying to predict which new comics would be the next big thing. After missing horribly with Spawn we gave up that endeavor.

It was so much fun.

When I made the turn on to Galena and then the quick right on to Emerald the memory of the first time that my dad let me drive rushed back into the present. I was eight years old and could barely see over the steering wheel of our red 1988 Toyota Tercel but since I dared to ask he dared to let me try. I must have stalled at least three or four times trying to negotiate the stick shift around the one turn to our street, Ivory Avenue. But when it was all said and done I felt like a man.

Twenty years later, as I approached this same intersection in my own stick shift I marveled at how much has changed but also remains the same. The huge trees we used to climb in the island in the middle of the street were gone and replaced with smaller ones. Many of the homes had new garage doors and some different landscaping. But there was our old house still looking exactly the same.

It felt like coming home again.

Had I not been encouraged to go to church on this beautiful Saturday afternoon I wouldn’t have been reminded of how blessed I am. I am so blessed to have grown up in a place safe enough for kids to ride bikes and climb trees. I am so blessed to have a father who loves me and has always done his best to support me. I am so blessed to be able to drive back to my old neighborhood twenty years later as a young man with so much to look forward to in life.

I hope that one day my future kids will be able to do the same thing. I hope that they will be able to look back on their childhood with the same fondness. I hope that they will be able to come home, wherever that is, and remember a lifetime of memories of love shared with family and friends. I hope that they will have the relationship with me and my future wife that I have with my parents; one of loving guidance, respect, and joy.

I know this is possible and will happen if I remember to “seek not to please myself but him who sent me”.

I’m looking forward to it.

Question of the Day: What are some of your fond memories of childhood or any time in the past that makes your heart smile?

P.S. Oh yeah and church was GREAT. He talked about faith and the things that block it in our lives. Pops has heat… check him out.

Simi Valley Christian Center

4191 Cochran St

Simi Valley CA 93063

(at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church)

1 comment:

  1. Nice C.

    And uh seems like ya have a pretty good girlfriend if she's helping you stay true to your words. Maintaining personal integrity, very important. :-)

    Fond memories, sooo many. I need to think about this one! :-)


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