2 Days. 2 Days. 1. 2. Boom.
I am now in checklist hell. I am pretty positive I have called or texted Ryan over 30 times this week about things that we need, or should have completed, or just finished. Waking up in the middle of the night with something that I missed? Yea, that’s happening. In any case, I am not only thinking about checklists of things that we need to bring on the trip, but also things that I would like to do before I hit the road. Here are some final things I have done in the past week that I know I won’t be doing again for quite some time:
Coney Island Lafayette – Check
Monster Truck Rally – Check
Labatte Blue Beers – Check
Watch the Detroit Red Wings – Check
The “list” goes on and on, but the one thing that I particularly wanted to do was to go to church. Although I thought about Christ Church Grosse Pointe, my home base, for the final Sunday at home, I decided that I would go down to Detroit to Christ Church’s sister parish, Church of the Messiah. Keep in mind that I have never gone there in my life, but after seeing a short film about the restoration of Detroit (www.lemonadedetroit.com), I decided that I would go on an adventure to Messiah.
When I showed up, I tried to not be fazed by the burned out buildings on either side of this gorgeous church. I wanted to keep my mind free and clear of any biases that I might have before going inside. Upon entering, I realized that the blazer I was wearing probably was a bit much compared to the sweatpants that was the common choice amongst the members of the congregation. Again, no judgements. The service begins and what unfolds for the next 75 minutes was one of the most moving and passionate services I have ever attended. The congregation was diverse, engaging, and extremely welcoming. We saw interpretive dances, heard soulful singing, and engaged in literally one of the best sermons I have ever heard. If you want to be moved and kick start your involvment with the restoration of Detroit, go check out Messiah and see how you feel after 12 minutes of “if the mission is right, the odds don’t matter” and “the ignorant, the stupid, the hateful, the lazy – we don’t have time for that stuff in our community – we only have time for our mission, which is to make this city a better place to live.” It was intense.
So after this passionate service, I’m worn out (I’ve “AMEN’ed, Hallelujah’ed, clapped, sang, and ‘danced’ ) and pretty much ready to go and Rev. Randolph says “Now one last thing before we go – we have to give our new friend, Jack, a proper Messiah blessing for his big trip” That is when I realize that the chair he has pulled up to the center in front of everyone, is where I am to sit. So I go up, sit down, and get handed the microphone. Great. I explain what I am doing and some of the volunteer work that we are going to do. That is when he says “alright everybody, get out of your seats and lay your hands on our friend Jack. Send him your blessings for his trip.” It is at that moment that everyone in the entire church, 50 or so people, crowd around me and lay their hands on me while Rev. Randolph starts his passionate prayer. Black. White. Latino. Rich. Poor. Homeless. All strangers crowding around me to wish me a safe, healthy, and good trip.
As a writer I sometimes find it hard to put experiences into words and this is one of those times. I could say that my experience was moving. I could say that power of having 50 strangers touching you, all sending their good vibes to you in prayer, was an incredible experience. I could say that I started crying. I could say lots of things to describe the experience, but I’ll leave it with the fact that it was one of the most special moments of my life. The power of kindness from strangers is a wonderful thing.
It might be ironic that I’m about to leave to go around the world to have incredible, moving, and foreign experiences when all I had to do was look in my own backyard. It is definately something to reflect upon in between the checklists…
Current Location: Detroit, Mi