To kick off the mini series focused around Emmanuel, I decided to take a dive into what feels like ancient history. I introduced this series in my last post Mini Recall Trip…series…. and today is the day I start it in earnest. I won’t post the series in one shot because there are other stories I’d like to share.
I also tried to adjust my writing to reflect how far back this took place. Figured it would test my writing a bit to switch not only styles but feel of how I probably would have written back then. Ok, that’s wishful thinking on my part.
Without further introduction…..
In the early days, when I was learning the ropes of life, I had several places where my talents were put to the test. One location that comes to mind is Emmanuel SDA in Long Island. They are one special church. This place has helped me in many ways sharpen my skills and become the man I am today.
While churches in general have many wonderful attributes, this particular church always struck me as youth friendly. Growing up trying to find my footing, it was important to feel loved, welcomed, at home. The youth culture there was amazing.
The fondest memories are about the talents I’ve been able to grow there that have served me well over the years. I have moved up my music game and photography game to a level that allows me to make a living whenever I choose. In fact, it’s safe to say that the challenges I met there have pushed me on. The guys were not going to let me just play and leave it alone. They were genuinely into the music and pushing each other to be better.
I remember having to show my merits to play for their service. It was a challenge to master a song and play it not just for the service, but to showcase my unique way to the other guys. Then, they in turn would show off their take on the song. Unlike many places I’ve played, here, ego was checked at the door. The guys just wanted to really learn the art. Whoever had the song the best, they made the cut and played for service. I wasn’t the one always chosen, but man, was I ever encouraged.
Mind you, this was not my home church. I was a regular visitor. They took me in, made me feel at home, and just pushed me to get better. Whatever the skill was they discovered, they pushed and encouraged me to improved. They did so for my siblings, they did so for my friends who visited. The agenda seemed to be that they just wanted people to improve and get better. It was a veritable family feel of love and empowerment.
*to be continued*
There will be more memories shared from this series of stories. I do want to say that in the era of my tenure at Emmanuel, I also visited many other churches that helped grow my talents. While I have not mentioned any names, the list of musicians who helped shape my skills is long. They’re all doing amazing things in their own places.
Now, I do want to find a way to catch back up with them. See where they’re at now. See how they’ve grown their skills. I can only imagine how awesome their careers have become so many years later.
This short trip down memory lane has really brought fond warm memories of a simpler time. I may just have to write more about that another time. For now, have a great rest of day and week.