"It Is Good to Be Home"

I just wanted to watch the game. My alma mater, Davidson College, was playing St. Bonaventure in the A10 tournament semi-finals on a channel my mother does not get. Yes, that’s right, I am a 51 year-old boomerang kid living in my mother’s house until we close on our new place. Thank God for awesome and patient step-fathers!

Anyway, I headed to a local establishment with lots of TVs, but a cursory glance did not reveal one to be on the right channel. I asked the hostess if there was one I could sit in front of to watch the Davidson game. She replied, “There is a viewing party in the back room.” (Sigh.) I love watching basketball and particularly coach Bob McKillop’s Wildcat teams and really prefer to watch alone free from conversations that might distract me from witnessing a perfect back pick or intelligent help defense away from the ball. Poor at multi-tasking, I can’t watch a game and attend to those around me and do much more than see the ball go in or miss and the score change or fail to change.

I also worried about feeling like an outsider walking into a viewing party that was not expecting me. Would I be introducing myself to younger alumni or older? Would I be awkwardly sitting in a crowded room by myself? Would I be the only one who didn’t think to wear my Davidson Wildcat gear? 

As it turned out, I was just about the only one without red and black on, but as I walked into the room, I was welcomed by an enthusiastic hoard of my fraternity brothers from the late 80’s—few of whom had lived in Charlotte prior to college. While I was unable to focus on the game as much as I had intended, it was great to see old friends—and it was great to feel welcome as a brother who belonged. 

Being the new guy in what used to be my old place, it does not always feel like that. Semi-familiar surroundings are most often filled with people I do not know. For a community of faith that has first time visitors every Sunday who may worry they are not dressed right or that they will not know anyone, what to do, what to say, and where to go, it really matters for the people already in the room to be genuinely welcoming and to care more about the person than anything else. Everyone should be welcomed as a sister or brother. No one should ever have feel like an outsider among people who recognize everyone as a child of God. 

Let’s not forget about the basketball! A win vs. the Bonnies and a championship victory vs. Rhode Island has the Cats dancing in the NCAA’s against Kentucky—just like during my freshman year. Coming home just got even more fun! An option mostly unavailable to me during my years of exile in Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia, I might even watch the Davidson game with friends. 

It is good to be home and God is good.

 Joe B.


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