by Bill McArthur
Here I am.
Standing at a church door.
Not one from my childhood memories.
That building seemed an empty place
of stain glass windows
a clanging Sunday bell
and tight uncomfortable stalls.
A cold place with coats kept on
and music from a distant world.
Instead this church is a community centre
with a smiling welcome in the car park.
Yet still I am nervous.
I am a stranger in a strange place.
What has brought me here?
I have seen some of these people
and they appear happy and open -
Things that I am not.
I have felt a gentle pull in their direction
to find out more.
So I have sought them out.
Let’s do this and see what happens.
I can always just walk out.
In through the front door
past a smiling hullo.
Lots of hullos in fact.
Into the main hall.
My steps falter at the sight of all the people.
What am I doing here?
I turn to walk back the way I came
but I am caught by another hullo
and this time also an extended hand
which I shake.
No turning back now.
I head for what looks like a coffee machine.
Awkwardly I stand wishing the service would start
feeling like I have gate crashed something.
Somebody approaches me, argh!
But it’s actually okay.
Our chat is fine.
At last we all sit down.
I sit in the back row
with my coat on, still fastened.
Someone takes to the stage
and the visitors are welcomed.
I guess that’s me.
And then the first day of the rest of my life begins.
(READ PART 2 HERE)