Wow, what a fantastic day this has been! It started out with plans to attend The Potter’s House here in Dallas, an idea that presented itself in Oklahoma City last week while talking with Roxie at In the Cut Beauty and Barber. You see, The Potter’s House wasn’t on my list of things to do while in Dallas and since I’m supposed to be going with the flow on this road trip, I was completely open to Roxie’s suggestion. I happened upon Roxie when James at Mr. Sprigg’s Barbecue referred me to In the Cut for a haircut. When I got there, though, there wasn’t a barber on duty but Roxie and I had the best conversation before I left. Trae, who lived in Atlanta until a few months ago before he returned home to OKC and bought his own barbershop, cut my hair on Tuesday.
I left Oklahoma City Wednesday evening and rolled into Dallas during rush hour Thursday after stops in Davis, the home of Turner Falls; Gene Autry (yes, that’s the name of the town but the museum was closed); Lake Murray State Park in Ardmore; and the Chickasaw Culture Center in Sulphur. All of these towns are in Oklahoma, by the way, so by the time I left Ray Roberts Lake State Park in Sanger, TX, I was ready to put the 50+ miles to Dallas behind me.
I was up early for breakfast Friday but despite plans to explore, I never made it out of the hotel room. I felt a nap coming on and decided to flow with it instead of fighting like I usually do and ended up sleeping the afternoon and evening away. Rested, I was up early Saturday, had breakfast, grabbed my cameras and headed out to explore Dallas. I roamed around downtown, parked and took a few pictures. I then just drove around seeing what I could see before having lunch then heading back to the hotel.
Now, back to Sunday. I left the hotel shortly after 8 a.m. heading to the 9 a.m. service at The Potter’s House, which is in north Dallas. By the time I got there, it was 9:08 and the main parking lot was FULL! We stragglers were lined up to park in the overflow lot across the street and from where I sat, it looked like it’d be another hour before I even made it to the sanctuary. But I creeped toward the U-turn nonetheless, until, that is, I spotted what turned out to be Mountain Creek Lake up ahead. I exited the parking line, headed for the mile-long bridge and found myself in Grand Prairie, TX. I stopped at Walgreens, bought a cup of cappuccino and began plotting my next move.
Back at the car, I saw a sister at the Red Box and asked her about other churches in the area. Initially, she directed me to a Catholic church there in Grand Prairie then to Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas. According to her, Friendship West was a big church, too, but not quite as big as The Potter’s House. On my way there, I saw a billboard for Faith Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and for reasons I can’t explain, I pointed my GPS to it instead. When I arrived a few minutes later, I parked directly in front of the church, was greeted with hugs when I entered and instead of sitting away from folks as I typically do, I chose this time to sit next to Joy, a sister who was sitting alone at the end of the pew.
As is in most churches, visitors were invited to introduce themselves and instead of remaining cloaked in anonymity, I actually took the microphone, introduced myself and shared about my road trip. Afterwards, the pastor himself left the pulpit to greet each of us individually. He added that he would be praying for my protection and safe travels. Then, those who didn’t have a Bible for the responsive reading had but to raise their hand to receive one as a gift. The responsive reading was from Matthew 6:25-33, which spoke directly to that “run out [of resources] mentality” I was thinking about during the drive from Sanger to Dallas Thursday. After service, Joy and I chatted briefly, exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. She texted me later about getting together for lunch before I leave Dallas. After church, I went to Mountain Creek Lake Park where I took pictures and basked in the sun and breeze off the lake.
I then stopped by a clothing store and chatted it up with a couple of women–one Black, the other white. The significance of this is that for decades, I harbored deep distrust and an intense dislike for whites because of the terror they inflicted upon my family during Daddy’s illness and subsequent death over thirty years ago. I started resolving those feelings a few years ago and can say that I’m finally free of them and no longer paint all whites with the same brush.
Sitting in Dallas traffic later (turns out there was a terrible accident and the police had blocked 3 of the 4 lanes), I had the opportunity to reflect on many things, one of which is how much I really am like Mama. She never met a stranger, and I’m beginning to see that more and more in myself. We had our challenges when I was growing up, before and especially after Daddy died, but having become the woman that I am and am still becoming, I have to thank her for being who she is and for who she helped me become.
I don’t recall any conversations with her about being strong, about not giving up, about being self-sufficient and independent but she instilled those qualities in us nonetheless. My sisters and I joke sometimes about “doing the Sarah” when our kids have pushed us too far but it’s also true that it’s the Sarah in us who helped us become who we are. I have to also thank Mama and Daddy for teaching us not to listen to naysayers and my big sisters for loving and taking care of us the way they did all those years ago. It is my wish now that I can give to them what they gave me all those years ago.