Written by cycleguy on September 27th, 2011

First the important stuff…an update on Lucy from yesterday’s post

I told you wrong.  I misunderstood what they were going to do.  They did not take skin from her thigh. They took it from inside her cheek and also from beside her tonsils.  (Does that not give you the chills just thinking about it?)  Her mom texted me and said she was doing well, drinking and eating yogurt.  The doctor, who has done the other two surgeries (she also had one to fix her lip in China), was guardedly optimistic.  He was real optimistic the other two so I can certainly understand his “guard” this time.  Please keep praying for Lucy, Reed and Amy.  Thanks.

Back in the 60s, my favorite singer/group was Tommy James and the Shondells.  I don’t expect many of you to know much about them, except maybe a song or two that has been covered  by someone else.  They had a song called Smokey Roads that I will link to at the end.  It was a haunting song about going back to where you grew up and finding things not as you once knew.  I have been there.  Pretty sure most of you have as well.  A house.  A neighborhood.  A venue.  A school. A church.  Going back is not always what it is cracked up to be.

This past weekend, Jo and I made our way back to Sandusky, Ohio, where I pastored a church from November 2000 to November 2005.  It had its ups and downs as all churches do.  Church growth is often measured by attendance.  If that is the case, I was a loser with a capital “L.”  My first year we lost 25 people.  No…not to me being there but to jobs moving out of town and people going where there were jobs.  The next year we only lost 8 (for the same reason).  I jokingly said, “Least we stopped the hemorrhaging.  The blood loss is a mere trickle now.”  🙂  I had to joke or I would have cried…big tears.  It is hard to lose that many people when you started with 140!  But, in spite of the downs, there were also some ups, and some good ministry and friendships were developed.  In that way, I cannot agree with what Tommy James sang.  Jo & I had a blast visiting, laughing, eating, reminiscing, preaching (me), and…(did I say eating?)  Many fond memories came flooding back.  Funerals.  Weddings. Tears. Laughter. Joking.  And some seriously nice people who always made some awesomely good food.   Notice a trend here?  😀  Things seem to be going well for them, and I am glad.   I served as a transition pastor for them…from someone who had been there for 13 years to the two who followed me (one died of a heart attack within a year of going there).  I am happy they were able to celebrate 100 years.


It takes going away for some to remember what they have.  That is how I feel today, although I am a little road-weary.  (You can translate that however you want).  🙂  But I wonder…have you ever gone back and found things different…good or bad?  I’d love to hear your story.  

Sorry: the song is supposed to have the lyrics but it doesn’t.  🙁


22 Comments so far ↓

  1. Mercy says:

    I’ve experienced a good feeling when I went back to the Bible to read a particular story again. It was like I was blind to the meaning of the story.
    Talking about a physical place, I will talk about my high school. It changed from good to bad. I was disappointed when I heard that the teachers had changed and were no longer interested in the moral upbringing of the students.
    Just prayed for Lucy, Amy and Reed.
    Have a nice day!

    • cycleguy says:

      Always good to go back and read something and find the new stuff. Way to go Mercy! Sad to hear about the old high school. Thanks for praying for Lucy, Amy and Reed.

  2. Susan says:

    Random thoughts again:

    I spent a fair number of years living with my grandparents as I grew up. I remember that after we had been away for awhile – 11 years in Portugal in fact – when we drove around the neighborhood, everything looked so small, and the streets that were so far across back then seemed almost like alley ways.

    On the other hand, I have a handful of friends in different places where I’ve lived. Whenever we’ve been able to get together we pick up right where we left off and find sweet fellowship.

    I long to see my Portuguese friends again. It has been 22 years since I’ve seen their precious faces, and talked to them. My dearly beloved and I would so love to go back to ministering in Portugal in our retirement. I am sure that Portugal has changed, and that our brothers and sisters in Christ there have grown.

    In the Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy (I think) noted that Aslan had grown from when she was younger….

    • cycleguy says:

      Love your random thoughts Susan. I love the fact that you have friends you can pick right up with as though you were never gone. Nothing stays the same…things either deteriorate or grow. I prefer the latter. Thanks for coming by today.

  3. Jim F says:

    I have only Pastor in two other churches beside the one I am in now and have had the opportunity to return to both of them one many years ago for the funeral of dear friend and one a month ago to perform the funeral of a dear friend. The first was sad because the church struggled – they had refused to change and they were a dying church. The other was at about the same point as they were when we left. The same is true though – in both cases there were many tears and laughs and great conversations with friends. I know that I was glad to be back home both times.

  4. I think it is strange to go back to the schools I went to as a kid and realize how small they really were even though they seemed so big back then. It’s all about perspective, I suppose.

    • cycleguy says:

      i can remember going back to my Jr. High and thinking, “Man, this school is really small.” ‘Course that may be cause the high school was bigger and I had grown. At your height, Matt, I suspect things would appear smaller. 🙂 Thanks.

  5. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    This subject reminds me of Paul speaking about being a child vs being grown up. There are definitely differences in how we see things as a child. Obviously, this is God’s plan for kids.

    I have also gone back to where I grew up when our family had a reunion in 1990. My sister and I were stunned at how our memories of our homestead differed from what we were looking at now as grown up women.

    This reminds me also of the Bible’s admonition. Once you have put your hand to the plow, don’t look back. There’s smokey roads ahead into the future as well, but this is the place where we trust God to set our feet in solid places as we follow Him.

  6. Moe says:

    Everytime I leave for a while and return, it helps me realize how much people mean to me. Especially in missions trips. You see so much need and we see so much we take for granted. A hug, a kiss, a healthy child, food in our tables. It sure is a different perspective.

    • cycleguy says:

      Gaining different perspectives is good Moe. I remember visiting children’s homes while in college and on bike tours that made me realize how good I had it. Thanks Moe for the input.

  7. Craig says:

    I had a chance to visit my old stomping grounds in Youngstown, OH over the summer. The house I grew up in was in sad shape. The side of town I grew up in was in sad shape. It would not be a neighborhood I’d move into today, sad to say. Other parts of town were doing ok…but it was sad to see my old home in desperate need of some TLC.

    • cycleguy says:

      I grew up near Pittsburgh and it really was (and some areas still are) a depressed area. Suspect your hometown experienced the same beat down Pgh did when the steel companies hit the tank. Sad when you see your old neighborhood though. Thanks for the comment Craig.

  8. Jason says:

    I hope you’ll give me the grace not to answer your question right now. Someday. But not now.

  9. Larry Hughes says:

    Some times going back to a past place is refreshing.

    In most cases on my part, visiting the old stomping grounds at my home town (which I visit frequently for the beaches)there is nothing left to reminince of the good old days.

    Every thing has been torn down or renovated. The old friends have relocated or I don’t recognize them. Many perished during the Vietnam war, Others died of health issues. The ones left are strangers.

    But alas, the beaches never change even with the new high rise condos, the beach is still the same old beach from yester year.

    Moving around so frequently over the years with my company I was with, made me burn bridges behind us.That was so sad. We left behind many good friends.

    • cycleguy says:

      Sometimes going back to the old stomping grounds is a bummer when seeing all the changes and not seeing people we once knew. I have yet to be at a high school reunion and wouldn’t recognize anyone if I did. It is sad when we have to leave behind good friends. Thanks Larry.

  10. Zee says:

    For me, I mostly welcomed people to Kyiv and said good-bye, because usually everyone came here and… yeah.

    Besides, I never lived anywhere but where I live right now. There are a few places around Ukraine that I like to visit, like a tiny village in Western Ukraine, just 20 km from Belorussia’s border. There are about 350 people total there, but it’s one of those places that feels like home – everyone knows everyone (and most people know me) 😀

    • cycleguy says:

      There is an advantage of not moving around Zee. Everything is familiar. 🙂 village sounds quaint and a great place to visit. Curious how most know you.

  11. Zee says:

    The disadvantage of never moving is that you always get to say good bye… People come and go, and you remain behind. That sucks… Ahem… anyway.

    Yeah – my mom came to that village in ’98 when they had a flood and helped with humanitarian aid (she’s the president of a charity foundation) and started a Church there as well… I started coming with her soon after and in these 13 years I’ve been there quite a lot… So everyone knows me 😀

    • cycleguy says:

      That would be a disadvantage…especially if you were not fond of the place. but it sounds like you are so it would be sad saying good-bye so often. Thanks for the story lil sis. Glad you keep in touch.