Sunday, Aaron had to get up at around 6:30 to continuing helping our friend’s church lead worship, so needless to say, he was long gone by the time Jesse, Ryan and I woke from our slumber. Ryan asked us to take him to a coffee shop to finish reading Velvet Elvis, then Jesse and I picked Lindsey up and headed to Watershed. After Transit (the name of the Sunday morning service), there was a Threshold (the name of the leadership group at Watershed) meeting that we stayed for. It was an interesting discussion addressing the situation of diversity both in Watershed as well as the community at large. Lisa, from 24/7, as well as several other intelligent folks of varying races and ethnicities helped us understand what it is like to be a minority in America. We discussed what steps ‘A, B and C’ are for us as individuals and as a community of believers to begin to break down the walls of segregation that have been built up over the generations. Much depth could be gone into here on this topic, but I will spare the wordiness as I am confident that the outcome of that discussion will be slowly materialized and written about in dates soon to come. We returned home from Watershed to find Aaron half asleep, which we did not hesitate to disturb, being excited to see him. Getting woken up two goofy guys jumping in his bed, Aaron was quickly reminded of a lesson we have all had to learn which is that we can’t hold anything too tightly for ourselves, even our time (and our beds).
Monday was a great day and around 10 in the morning we heard a knock at our door. It was our neighbor Kevin wanting to hang out. He was bored because he is still unemployed so he came in and hung out for a while. We all had the day off so we went over and chilled at Kevin’s house for awhile as well. We still can’t believe how quickly we are being let in to the lives of our neighbors. We were excited today because we were going to get to see our friend Andrew who had a fortunate layover in Charlotte on his way back to Lynchburg. As some of you may know we lost a very close friend and amazing servant of Christ recently. Her name was Emily and we continue to wrestle with God as we begin to heal and look for his purpose in this. We met Andrew only 5 months ago as he and Emily had met and fallen in love and were going to be married this summer. God has expedited our friendship and we have come to love and respect him greatly. Sadly his plane came in late and we didn’t get to see him so we went and practiced instead.
Tuesday was another great day, which ended with having Kevin, his girlfriend Coby, and her son Budda over for dinner. We had a good time hanging out, telling stories, and getting to know them better. Wednesday and Thursday were days full of work and band practice because we actually have show planned for Saturday. Truth be told we are still making the transition to a three piece but this show is for the youth center Jesse helped start so we were trying to pull something together in time. Also on Thursday our good friend T.J. arrived. He was on his way back to Lynchburg but had decided to grace us with his presence for a few days. TJ is a very smart and very funny fellow and we honestly prefer having our house full as much as possible. We had a great time showing the TEEJ around the Queen City and as we began hashing out our songs in our practice space TJ took his own midnight tour of the city on our moped. Our practice space is located on the other opposing outskirt of town about twenty blocks south and ten blocks west. Charlotte is fairly large but its actual downtown (which, they call Uptown) is only twenty or so blocks in each direction. We live on the northeast corner of Uptown and our practice space is on the Southwest and one of our greatest pleasures has become the bike ride to and from practice. The ride back is cathartic as Charlotte is absolutely striking at night and there is something so surreal about flying through the heart of an empty city after midnight with the sky backlight by the glow of skyscrapers. Flying past buildings, jumping off curbs, and dashing through red lights…oh the little things.
Friday began a weekend for the history books of our lives here in Charlotte. Many of you may be familiar with a rather large and tragic event that has recently taken place in the lives of Aaron, Jesse, and I which was the death of a very dear friend of ours, Emily. While this has been one of the tougher things in any of our lives to come to grasps with, the opportunities and memories that have followed in the wake are nothing short of irreplaceable. It was a normal Friday for all of us here until about 5:00 when Emily’s mother and younger sister (from here on out to be referred to as “Mama Rund” and Julie) got in town for the weekend. I can safely say that words would only fall short if I tried to explain how excited and full of joy we were to see them and know we would have several days to spend with both of them. I think Mama Rund had mixed feelings about being here especially when she heard within the first few minutes of being here that hearing gunshots in our neighborhood is not all that uncommon. This bit of information was probably exposed too soon, but as with everyone else, by the end of the weekend she was in love with the neighborhood, or house, our church, the community, and especially “Franco” (one of TJs nicknames). That Friday night, we all went to movies in the park, an event that Watershed puts on the second Friday of every month during the summer. While I’m thinking about it, if you haven’t checked it out yet, the website for Watershed is www.watershedcharlotte.com, much of what we talk about and have been involved in can also be checked out there, it’s just another good resource for looking into the lives those of us living here in Charlotte. Back to the good stuff, after the movie we all grabbed some dinner and retired for the night. The next morning we all got up and those of us in the band went and packed the truck up for a show we were going to be playing later that night in Roxboro, NC. On the way back, Jesse and I stopped at a little corner store/daily yard sale because we saw a stack of mattresses there. After talking to the guy for a few minutes, we left with five mattresses in and on my car for ten dollars each. We had been trying to find mattresses to fit our five empty bunks and this seemed the perfect solution, so now no one has an excuse not to visit us. The whole crew was kind enough to come with us to our show and make the experience even more community filled than we were anticipating. We played at the Youth for Christ warehouse that Jesse interned for this summer. Those we love dearly at The Warehouse were nice enough to invite us up to play for their end of school celebration. While we were there, Andrew, Emily’s fiancé, met up with us to spend the rest of the weekend with us as well. Andrew seemed the perfect finishing touch to our crew and we were more than excited to see what the weekend had in store for us. After playing the show, we grabbed some dinner and headed off on our three and a half hour journey home at 11:00 pm. When we arrived back in Charlotte, we wasted no time scurrying off to our beds to get some much needed rest.
Sunday morning, we all left together for Transit up at Watershed. Jesse played drums this Sunday and Matt O’Neil spoke. They began a new series called ‘Happy?’ and I really encourage that you listen to this particular message (June 10) on the Watershed website. I would love to go into detail about it and tell you why you should listen to it, but I will simply say that you will not be disappointed if you do listen to it and you would be missing out on a great example of what attracts us so much to this particular community of believers in Charlotte if you decide not to listen. My apologies for the shameless plug, but we all left Transit with an overwhelming joy and excitement and I just want to share it with as many people as possible. Back again to the story, after church we decided to go for a bike ride around the city, so Lindsey, Julie, TJ, Andrew, Aaron, Jesse, and I all set out on our bikes and our moped to explore the city. I think this is when it really hit us how amazing the group of people we were surrounded with truly was. We all cruised around the city laughing, singing, talking, and talking up several lanes of traffic just enjoying the beauty of friends, the city, and a much needed day of rest. We ended up at the Carolina Panthers’ football stadium where we took and break and laid in the grass. There is something surreal and even transcendent at times about taking part in God’s creation while surrounded by some of the more massive and extravagant structures man has erected. Before long, without realizing it, we had all fallen asleep, exhausted from the weekend. After we woke from our nap, we headed back home and got ready for Italians. Italians is something that is done almost every Sunday evening and is just a little dinner party that a lot of Watershedders get together for to enjoy an evening of good food, conversation, and laughter. This particular Sunday it was at our good friends Blair and Jonathan’s house. I personally did not know them very well, and several people with us did not know them at all, so we all had a very good time getting to know them better and thoroughly enjoyed their hospitality and spaghetti. After returning home, we sat and talked a bit then proceeded to bed for yet another much needed night’s sleep.