Since gas is so cheap right now...

...and because Sadie finally fell asleep in the car on the way to church today, I dropped Alison and Ella off and drove around for an extra twenty minutes or so. Our church meets in the more "industrial" part of downtown Nashville, right between the car-tow lots and the homeless shelter. And that is awesome.

I was feeling really crummy this morning, maybe some sort of 24-hour flu, and so I first headed to Krispy Kreme. I mean, where else can you get food that is guaranteed to make you feel better? At least while you're eating it. And drinking chocolate milk.

After that I just sort of drove aimlessly. Before you knew it I ended up passing the Holiday Inn right off of Demonbruen. At least, I think it's a Holiday Inn. Doesn't really matter. What does matter is that when I moved to Nashville almost ten years ago I spent my first night in that hotel.

Students could start moving into their dorms on Saturday and my parents wanted to drive down with me. They had a wedding they were both a part of back in Illinois that Saturday, though, and so we drove down Thursday and they bolted early Friday morning so they could make the rehearsal.

And just like that, they were gone. I was alone in my new city. In that hotel.

I really don't remember much else I did that day. I'm sure I drove around just as aimlessly as I did today. I'm pretty sure I hit the Krispy Kreme then as well. I do remember that I got a speeding ticket in some construction going South on I-65. At the time I was really, really lost. I haven't looked at the signs on that interstate in five years now. I don't need to know. This is my home, I know every curve and office building from Wedgewood to Franklin.

I crashed that Friday night at my friend Eric Wright's apartment. He was a roommate of a YoungLife guy I knew, but Eric and I became great friends for a number of years. It's been way too long since I've seen him now.

Eric was the reason I moved to Nashville. I had my publishing deal here, but it didn't mean that much to me. I hadn't gotten into the college I wanted to go to, and my ex-girlfriend was going to the only other school I'd looked at. Truth-be-told, I didn't really want to go to college. I told Eric this and he said "come to Belmont. It's here in Nashville, and we can hang out." Good enough for me, I thought, and applied sometime in June or July.

That first day here I had every single thing I owned packed into the back of a 1984 Mazda hatchback. Today I drove those same streets in a minivan with a sleeping baby in the back. I don't know that it means anything or has some neat, little point, but it was a poignant moment for me today, passing that hotel.

How about you? Is there a Holiday Inn in your story, literal or otherwise? Is there an Eric Wright? Someone or someplace or something who proved to be a rudder in the river of your life whose significance you didn't realize at the time? If so, what moment made you realize it?