John Bressler-010612Listen to John Bressler's latest column about why he's feels so blessed to call Statesboro home
I was sitting in the waiting room, office, dog house and spa of Jappy Stringer's gas station waiting for the car to get its annual oil change and bulb replacement feeling warm all over. It was 32 degrees F outside but felt pretty good inside as I was close to the heater and the Stringer's dog, Gracie, a 100-pound German Shepherd, was sitting on my lap. Who says no to a dog the size of a Volkswagen?
I thought about how fortunate we are and how wonderful God has been to bring us to a place we call home and allow us to be surrounded by such remarkable folks we call friends and neighbors.
Fifty-two years ago, my future mother-in-law and father-in-law drove me and Julie down to Florida to show me to the rest of the family to get their approval and agree that I could join the clan. I don't remember a lot about the trip, but I can say that two days driving in a small car will bring people closer together or separate them in a heartbeat. My father-in-law said one thing, "I can't wait to get out of Georgia! All they have are two-lane roads, trucks hauling pine trees that won't let you pass, sweet tea and grits!"
I do remember driving through Statesboro. Here was this pretty little town on Route 301 with a neat courthouse and a small college. Almost 30 years later, I was called as a pastor to a wonderful church in Savannah and found myself driving with an elder to First Presbyterian Church in Statesboro for a meeting. I sat there as a member of the Presbytery, looking around, and thinking that the pastor of this church was certainly blessed and wouldn't it be special to stand in that pulpit and preach God's Word to their congregation. God must have been listening to my thoughts, as eight years later, I was called to Statesboro and installed as the man who would be First's pastor for the next 14 years. Luck? Fate? Chance? Nah, let's step out on a limb and call it predestination, or better yet, providence.
Since we have been here, we have seen Statesboro change, and I mean change: from a college to a university town, population growth, added economic strength and great progress in our future due to the wisdom of our city leaders who may be accused of moving slowly in their decision-making process but when they sign the dotted line, do so with intelligence and integrity.
I call this place my home and will always do so until my obituary will state, "While Bressler may have called Statesboro home, he was born and raised in West Virginia, and don't you forget it!"
I'll tell you why this is my home, and don't you forget it either. Where else can I drive down the road and have folks wave at me? I know every street and back road like a friend and I wave back. I buy appliances at the same store, gas at the same station (except when they close on January 2nd for some strange reason), keep my money in the same bank, use the same accountant, read the same newspaper and support the local merchants. Why? Because this is my hometown, that's why!
On Sundays, I sing in the choir and usually listen to everything Pastor Jimmy says. I'm sorry, but I just can't help looking out towards the congregation, taking in the architecture and drifting off into my own little world as a word in the sermon speaks to me of the past, present and possible future. I sit there and realize that I am in good hands, married to an angel, blessed with marvelous children and loved by grandchildren who think I am better than sliced bread.
Every morning, I step outside and take a lung full of air that can only be found in Statesboro. I walk the dog past my friends' homes and, if I had a tail like Chloe's, I'd wag it, too.
I suppose I could be accused of "preaching to the choir" because I know you folks feel the same way about Statesboro.
There aren't enough words and I certainly don't have the writer's flair to write all the good things as eloquently as I would if I could, but I think you understand what I am trying to say.
Here is the place I call, "Home."