This morning we cleared out of our final hotel room and journeyed into downtown Charleston, WV, to attend Eucharist at St. John’s Episcopal Church. It’s a historical place, probably built in the early 19th century. We dropped Sarah off at the Godly Play room, where the teacher was getting ready to tell the story of Abraham and Sarah, an old favorite of ours which I’ve told to the children of St. Thomas on a number of occasions.
That happened during the first part of the Eucharist while Christy and I were at worship. Just as the priest was wrapping up the Prayers of the People, a loud alarm went off—the smoke alarm! The priest calmly invited us to leave the building and await further instructions. We didn’t see Sarah during this time, but we assumed she was fine and that this was a false alarm. Sure enough, in the brand-new kitchen that had just been dedicated this week (and for which we had just finished praying), somebody had burned some toast. I commented later that it’s probably a great idea for every church to have a fire drill right in the middle of the service, whether it was planned or not!
The people there were kind, and the liturgy was well done. After coffee hour, we hit the road hard. It just so happened that yesterday we finished listening to The Hobbit unabridged on audiobook. Toward the end, Gandalf says, “It’s a long road home.” Bilbo replies, “Yes, but it’s the last road.” That’s exactly how we felt. For some reason, I really wanted to be behind the wheel today, so I started driving, and I didn’t relinquish the job all afternoon and into the evening. Adrenaline kept me moving, and maybe it also satisfied some deeply male part of my ego to be the one driving my family to our final (for now) destination.
We did choose the southern path through the Appalachians, which involved some hairpin turns, many large trucks, occasional slow traffic, and one brief downpour. All went well, though, and we’re very glad we took the scenic route.
At 6:30 or so, we arrived in Fairfax and stopped to eat at Denny’s. Then on we went through town to nearby Annandale, our GPS telling us exactly where we needed to go. We pulled into the driveway of our friends the Hoskinses, who used to attend church at St. Thomas with us until they moved here over a year ago. They have three girls, the oldest of whom was a core member of my youth group.
The Hoskinses are on an extended vacation, so we get to house-sit for them for a few days until the movers come. Tonight Sarah settled into the bed of the youngest girl. Her wall is plastered with posters of Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and the Jonas Brothers—a sure sign that she has older sisters!
We’re very happy to be in Virginia at long last. Not that our journey is finished—I mean, yes, it’s just beginning, but until the moving van comes, we’re still in a sort of limbo. But at least the routine of driving for over four hours a day has finally come to an end.