I don’t know if the pastor smiled at me because he was happy to see that a sinner has arrived to church, or was it because Pastor Tim Blackmon recognized me from my photos on Facebook?
Pastor Blackmon and I have been Facebook friends for several years, from the first time I contacted him way back when I lived in Gonzales.
Back then, I was reminiscing about my life in The Hague when I lived there with my husband, Will. I looked online for the website of the American Church of the Hague. This is where I got the email to the church and sent a message to the new pastor, Tim Blackmon. I knew someday I would return.
Back in 1998, Will and I were astonished over the music from the choir loft in back of us and on the balcony, that was directed by Pastor Blackmon’s father. We loved the entire service, and the many activities generated at the church and the people we met. Sunday’s became our day for church. We were never disappointed.
One time parishioners coming from across the world, dressed up in their native clothing and a party was held after church. Will and I dressed in our Colorado western clothes.
So I was there this morning, and again, mesmerized by the choir. The message delivered by Pastor Blackmon was about forgiveness: forgive others, forgive yourself. I needed to hear it. Could stand to hear it again, in fact.
During the social time between the second and third service, I met Wilma who graciously greeted me and did more than that. After church, and when her husband, Ben, was back from singing in the choir, they took me to their home and served lunch. It was erwtensoep: split pea. It is known to be a cold weather dish. Good idea for it has been cold and there is snow on the ground. “I make erwtensoup on all months with an ‘R’ in them.” Wilma said.
Ben is a nurse and left after lunch for his job. Wilma, Benny – the most charming dog I have met in a long time – walked from their home to where I am staying until Tuesday.
When I leave here, I will be at an old hotel in Scheveningen. Scheveningen is a popular destination on the North Sea, where Will and I lived for one year. It is close to the beach and other interesting locations…but more about that later.
Meanwhile, I have spent a few days now with fresh eyes experiencing again, the sites where Will (Wim) and his teenaged friends played out their clandestine activities during WWII as resistant workers. It’s all in the book, “Too Close to the Sun” – a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII.