Well, it’s happened twice. Two pastors have directed me, asked me, insipired me to think in a certain direction. The first Pastor is my Pastor Rod. Pastor of my home church. I attended service there my first Sunday morning here. The service was being held “By The Pond”
Waldorf College is a lutheran college located just around the corner from my church. During the summer months our church services are held on the college campus, By The Pond.
I love these services, they’re my favorite in fact. I’m always inspired when I’m near the water. Refreshed. Spiritually Connected. In Communion with God. I’m drawn to the water. And in the middle of farm country, let me tell ya, sometimes finding rushing water can be a challenge. (Except for this year because we’ve surpassed flood stage with all of the intense rains here. Another 3-5 inches is expected through the weekend.)
The service begins with comtemporary music being played as people gather carrying lawn chairs and blankets to the edge of the pond where an in formal pulpit has been set up. The sun is always shining through the wise old trees on the campus. The congregation takes shape as everyone draws near. Familiar faces. New faces. Family expansions. Missing faces. Ushers passing out church programs. Children looking for sunglasses.
Then it begins. This place that holds fulfillment. Brings forth reminders of hope and of God’s Love for us. I am fed here. Songs are sung, scriptures read and messages shared. Hand shakes and hugs. Connection. Restoration. Love. By The Pond.
The other pastor is my friend Richard Rice from the blog “Where Living Begins”. He is a pastor in Portland Oregon. I ‘met’ him through WordPress and this whole blogging business. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that Richard was from Portland until I’d spent two days in Portland on my 6000 mile road trip, and had then moved on to Montana. Sitting in my motel room on that particular Montana morning, I read Richard’s blog…. and it said he lived near Portland. I have to say I was very disappointed to get this information right after I’d left there. I was disappointed because Richard had inspired me, taught me and encouraged me many times from his blog posts. And I would have enjoyed the opportunity to meet him in person over a cup of coffee. Then right after I had landed in Wisconsin, Richard blogged that he had just been in Chicago… again a near miss, as I was living about 90 miles from there! But an in person meeting just wasn’t part of the plan.
So.. what did these two pastors ask, inquire, or directed me to – you ask?
Pastor Rod told me to stop by and tell him what I’d learned from my trip and my time in Wisconsin.
Pastor Richard encouraged me to see what I’d left behind and what I was coming into.
(Deep cleansing breath)
I learned that no matter where you go – there you are.
All of you. The good parts that we’re proud of and the not so good parts that we keep hoping and trying to change within ourselves. On my trip I saw the most amazing sights, the breathtaking beauty in our country. I learned so many things at the writer’s conference. And I met people like Dr Kalish in Sacramento, and Adam in Portland. I travelled through prairies, deserts, and mountains. Along streams, rivers and oceans. I passed up the tour of the Bat Caves in Arizona. But hoped to see a bear in Oregon. I took a wrong turn into a Military Checkpoint in the White Sands of New Mexico. I was met by the nicest military officer with red flashing lights.
But I think I learned the most when I was all by myself at the “Cast Away” Ranch in Canadian, Texas. I learned that we need other people. We need conncetion. We need it. I met Wilson from the Cast Away movie that night. Wilson helped Tom Hanks on that island. And Wilson was my companion for that one dark, lonely, stormy night at the ranch. When the storms passed and the sun rose that next morning, I drove five more miles down the clay-gravel roads, ruttted from heavy rains that threatened to wash away the road. I made it to the Crossroads. You know the one.. where Tom Hanks stands as he’s deciding. When his life journey had been interrupted, and he was forced to change course.
I was changing the course of my life. I needed to stand in those very crossroads to find my direction. To figure out which way to go. From that crossroads in Texas I drove about 5000 miles before I found where I was supposed to be. I found it, (I know you’ll laugh) because of my coffee pot. I’d been staying in motels every night for a month. And it becomes critical to have a working coffee pot. This particular night in Wisconsin, my coffee pot didn’t work. So the next morning I set out to find a second-hand store to find a coffee pot that would get me through the rest of my trip.
In Janesville Wisconsin, right there on Milton Avenue is a second hand store called, Castaways. Of course I went in. And I asked the lady at the counter if they had a coffee pot. She said, “We only have one.”
She asked where I was from and after a bit of conversation I shared about my trip and coming to this store. She told me about a local Writer’s Group. And I found an aprtment on the river. And a Singles group called “You Are Not Alone”.
I made my home in this place. I had a whole group of single friends, a beautiful apartment and I was fortunate enough to find a job with the YWCA of Rock County, where I met and was blessed to work with the most amazing group of people.
I miss many things from Wisconsin. But I’ve already been back once to visit. And had a wonderful time!