Sunday, August 14, 2011

Zip locks

A photo broke my heart tonight.
I was just sifting through Facebook photos and I ran across this photo through an old family friend's page. It's the church I grew up in and it's gone now.
It's not that I miss it or anything, the church moved to a different place when I was in 7th grade and even that church is no more at this point as well. But when I looked at that picture, I just relived every moment that I spent in that building. The all-nighters spent there with the youth group playing 'kick-the-can,' the endless hours spent rehearsing for whatever production I was in, the back hallways we would run up and down before and after service. It brought every minute of that back to me.
But can I tell what the moment it made me think of the most? It was during one of those all night youth group parties and during a game of 'kick-the-can.' If you're not familiar with the game, it's pretty simple. There's a can, everyone is split into two teams, one team goes and hides and the other goes to find them. Once you find someone, you have to beat them to the can in order to either stay in/knock them out of the game. We played a no boundaries game and we played it in complete darkness. Well, needless to say, it was one of the most fun games I've ever played in my entire life. It's right up there with broomball and car-wars.
The reason that photo reminded me of that is because that tall part of the building that's exposed where the wood comes to a peak - that was the attic above the sanctuary. There was a small and rather secret door to get in there and since I was at the church so much, I knew the secret. Well, we'd go in there, climb up in the rafters that you can see exposed there, and no matter if someone came in there or not, they would never possibly know that we were up there. I've always remembered the cavernous attic that we would hide in and I am not afraid to say that it's the one thing I miss about that building.
That's why that photo broke my heart because not only were they tearing down the building that housed so much of my childhood, but it was like my hiding place was exposed finally. No I don't live in any delusion that I was the only one that knew about it. But when you're a kid, you do have those delusions and since I left that building for the last time when I was a kid, that's how it will forever be remembered in my head. It's amazing how we are able to hold onto the memories. Just like we took them and put them in zip-lock bags. We see them exactly for what they were at that moment and we don't allow them to age with us.
I think that's one of the wonderful things about being a kid. Our memories are stored in all these metaphorical zip-locks and we don't allow them to age like we do when we get older. We rarely say 'oh I was young and now that I look back at it, it was stupid.' No. We look back and say 'that was awesome,' no matter how ridiculous the memory may now be.

I will always cherish the times that I spent in that building and the people that it allowed into my life, some of which are still very much a part of my life. This other picture is my favorite picture from my childhood. It's my 'Sandlot' photo and for those of you that have seen that film, you understand what I'm talking about. It was taken at Kid's Camp when I was in 5th grade and these were the guys we hung out with in that old building. It stands as the definitive image that sums up (for me) the joy and zeal for life that you have when you're that age and while one-by-one, I've seen some of these guys from this photo lose that zeal in favor of...normalcy perhaps...I like to believe I haven't lost it. If anything, my zeal for life has become greater. When I was that young, anything was possible. But I still believe that. It's been almost twenty years since that photo was taken and I still believe that I'm still just as full of life as I was then.
See, this is why I blog. It's free therapy. I'm no longer broken-hearted about this photo. I'm full of joy. I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything in the world. And I wouldn't trade the memories made in that old Christian Life Cathedral building in Dallas, Texas for anything in the world either. And I love my zip-locked memories.

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