(This post first appeared in my morning pages on September 17, 2018.)

I used to love the South. Not the media caricature of the South as racist, crass, and ignorant. The South of grace and genteel charm and crisp October Saturdays and ma’am and sir and how y’all and all that. Polos and khakis and penny loafers with no socks and plaid in the spring, seersucker in the summer, and heather-toned Shetland in the brief winter.

I used to love shopping, going to the mall, browsing.
I used to love food. Cooking it, tasting it, sharing it.

I used to love Alton Brown’s podcast, where he interviewed creative folks of all kinds, not just foodies, but artists and poets and authors and whiskey connoisseurs and puppeteers and podcasters and such.

I used to love reading. Newspapers, magazines, books. Real dead-tree, dead-octopus kinds.

I used to love people. Meeting them, talking to them, learning about them, serving them.

I used to love this house. When it was new and big and cool and ours.
I used to love this community. When it was new and different and cool and ours.

I used to love to exercise.

I used to love preaching and preparing to preach and studying and standing in front of people and inspiring them and helping them think and act and do and become.

I used to love going and doing and seeing and experiencing and enjoying.

I used to love learning.
I used to love hoping and dreaming and anticipating and expecting.I used to love knowing there was always tomorrow, that things would work out, no matter how bad they seemed today.

I used to love going to church on Sunday. Even though it meant going to work, it was a good thing, a God thing. I was glad when they said unto me, and then I wasn’t.

I used to love.

I. Used. To love.
Once upon a time. In another time. As another person. As another me. In another place. In a different life. I used to love.

And then I didn’t any more.