The Adventures of Ogden: Man of the Suburb
Episode 6 – March – A First For Emily

Nathan pulled into the parking spot and turned off the car. He took a deep breath. He looked out across the parking lot. Well-dressed families were walking into the front door of the church. He looked at his watch: 9:52. Eight minutes until the service started.

He looked into the backseat of the car and smiled nervously toward the only other passenger – his five-year-old daughter, Emily. She had just been jabbering as they drove in – indeed, she had hardly stopped talking during the seven minute ride from their home. But now she was silently watching her dad – wondering what he would do. She had never been in a church.

But she wasn’t what made him hesitate. He knew that if they went in, she would jump in with both feet, just like she attacked everything new.

No, she would be fine. So what was it? As Nathan thought about it, he wasn’t sure at all why he suddenly had lost all interest in entering the building. He had left their home boldly enough, with his wife watching him from the dining room table. She had no interest in religion of any kind. This was perhaps reasonable given what another church had done to her family. But that was decades ago. In another state. She couldn’t forgive.

Nathan knew his brother, Ogden, would be happy to see that he had gotten this far. He knew Ogden was praying, perhaps everyday, that Nathan would try church again. But now Nathan’s heart was beating fast and he was sweating and he did not want to face the odd glances he felt they were sure to get as they walked through the double doors.

No. Maybe next week, he thought. I’ll just tell Emily that we’re going to go do a little shopping and then we’ll head home.

He put the key back into the ignition and was just starting to turn it-


Nathan turned to see a young girl, about Emily’s age, looking through the back window at Emily. She yelled through the glass again, “Aren’t you coming in?”

Nathan saw the torso of a man walk past the car and beckon the other girl. “C’mon Emily.” The other girl smiled again at Nathan’s daughter and followed her dad.

Nathan’s daughter giggled, “Hey, she has my name, too!”

Nathan took the keys out of the ignition and opened the door. He hadn’t asked for a sign, but if he had, he couldn’t have expected anything better than that.

He watched with thankfulness as his daughter excitedly unbuckled her seatbelt and they went inside. And for the first time in seven and a half years, Nathan worshiped. God met him.