In 2010, right around the time of an almost cataclysmic emotional upheaval in my life, my friend Kelly reached out to me and invited me to her home because another friend of ours was coming into town.
There’s a preface to this story about a special little coffee house that changed my life, but we’ll talk about that later- let’s just say I met most of my friends from the past there.
The details surrounding that first night are foggy. I hadn’t seen anyone from my beloved coffee house in years. I don’t remember who all was there, just that we were there- and the magic of “being together” happened that night, and it continued to happen over the next three years. We sat out back, on Kelly’s deck, and there began a journey.
The Deck took the place of most organized religion for me- it was a group of seekers and mystics who basked in one another’s presence in an informal way.
In Dothan, Alabama, the Deck was the place to be- it was the place where people had deep conversations about important things, the place where people who are normally oppressed could be free.
To this day, I believe that we were the only ones (or at least the main ones) in that area fighting that evil energy there, the backwardness, the stupidity, and to this day, I believe that, in some capacity, the darkness won out.
You can call it whatever you like- ignorance, evil, whatever- there’s a terrifying “energy” that hovers over that region, and to whatever degree a similar energy may be where I live now, it isn’t nearly as strong.
Not even our combined strength and goodness and love could stop the evil that pervades that area, and that breaks my heart.
Because since those days, we’ve all been scattered across the USA in some capacity or another. Things happen. People move. Life progresses forward.
The UU resembles the Deck, though because the UU is a religious body, it’s more formal and organized than the Deck. And that’s okay. There’s a big difference between hanging out at someone’s house and being at a religious service.
Tonight, for whatever reason, I miss the Deck. I miss the good we experienced on the Deck.
There were some intensely bad things that happened as well, but I won’t dwell on those things because somehow, we had more good than bad. The good is what I remember. The good is what remains with me.
Maybe that good will be reborn in a new form one day.