Sunday, June 08, 2008

Ordinary Weekend

This weekend, we spent eighteen total hours driving round trip down to Dillard, Georgia--nine hours down on Friday, and nine more hours back today. Actually, it took eleven hours today, because we stopped for two meals on the way back.

Why would we subject ourselves to this ass-breaking, blood-clot-forming torture? For the love of family is the only reason.

My brother was ordained this weekend into the Methodist church. Yes, my brother is now the Right Reverend Michael Harris. God help us all!

After a long, hard and often trying journey, Mike was accepted as an "Elder" into his faith, with the full rights and expectations as a servant of God. At this juncture, Mike has a great deal of opportunity and unknowns in front of him. He's transferring to an urban church in Charlotte--a church that was once thriving, but has seen decline in recent years. I know he'll do good. He always does.

Before the ordination, we took some time on Saturday to explore Dillard, in the north Georgia mountains. The boys and I took a nice walk into town, until we realized that it was 95 degrees (about 34 °C) with equal percent humidity. We were sweating before we were an eighth of a mile down the road. By the time we got into town, the boys and I ducked into a smoothie shop for some much needed relief, and it was only nine o'clock! I forgot how miserable it is in Georgia from June to August.

So, we called Becky (back at the hotel) to come with the van and mount a rescue, and while we waited, Luke and I played a little chess. I lost.

After this, the whole extended family cooled off in the hotel pool with Merrick and Jimmy, their kids, Corry and Drew, plus Uncle Bobby and Aunt Terry, Mom, Dad, and Emma, Nathan, Joshua and Cooper (Mike's kids). It was loads of people and loads of fun, and a welcome break from sitting in the car all the previous day.

After splashing in the pool, our small army invaded a local Mexican restaurant and devoured burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and tacos like a storm of hungry locusts. Filled with the warm cheesy goodness of lunch, we all headed back to the hotel for some long naps before the ordination.

The ordination itself was pleasant enough, as ordinations go. It was a very solemn ceremony, presided over by the bishop. (Carroll politely asked Aunt Terry not to "Whoop!" it up when Mike received his orders.)

The service lasted about two hours, and something like thirty people were ordained along with Michael. After the service, we toured the enormous Methodist compound, though not entirely on purpose. This compound was a dizzying labyrinth of streets, and we got sucked deeper and deeper into its back streets. Finally, we had to stop and ask for directions to the exit, much to my shame and embarrassment.

So, Mike, far from ordinary, is now ordained. I'd already become accustomed to calling him Rev. Mike, so it doesn't sound so queer as it once did. Now, Mike gets to enjoy the benefits of his new position, like that lush Methodist 401(k) plan and those lucrative Incentive Stock Options--one share for each soul saved. He can start with mine.

So, Rev. Mike, go out and do good. Show them Jesus!

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