Saturday, May 29, 2010

Journey of a Call

In the South Atlantic, I was paddling on swells so deep that riding the bottom of the trough obliterated site of land until my canoe was lifted to the top of the next swell ridge and the Coast of Argentina came into view again. I remember it hot. The sky neither blue nor grey but white hot. In the trough I got a call from God calling me to community. I can not say that I heard a voice but I got the message of God calling my name. Shortly afterward, I crashed in the surf. Townspeople from Santa Terrisita, waded into the ocean to pick me, my boat and gear out of the waves. My head felt "iced" where the canoe had hit. A fire was built on the beach. My partner Verlen and I wrapped in blankets and sat by the fire. An off season restaurant was opened for storage of our boats and a place to sleep. Within a few hours, the Mayor of Santa Terrisita arrived with a proclamation which read that Verlen and Valerie could eat at any restaurant in Santa Terrisita for free for as long as we choose to stay and recuperate from the crash. A man named Tony took the proclamation from the mayor's hands and ripped it in two pieces. "Anyone can eat in a restaurant in our town," said Tony. "Verlen and Valerie are family. We will feed them." True to word, whenever it was time to eat the people of the town brought food and sat down and ate with us. I've always believed that Bread & Water got birthed on that Argentine beach. The ministry of hospitality and welcome for the traveler is life changing experience.
When my canoe journey concluded at Cape Horn in 1989, I returned to Michigan to finish my undergraduate degree and a Master of Divinity at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. I began serving a two-point charge, Bell Oak and Williamston United Methodist Churches in Michigan, 1995. During my years as local pastor, the verse that continued coming to mind and heart was "feed my sheep." Eventually, after adopting six children, I recognize and admit to being a loaves and fishes operator. In contrast with my son Steven's meal prep., I notice that I'm a stingy cook. I'm always trying to stretch the dollar. The recipe calls for sour cream and I leave it out. We are feeding 8 people at the table and those who drop in so I cut the juice with water. When I have failed at "feeding my sheep" it is because I have been too practical.
Day 23 of transplant, I am hearing a new call -- "take up your pallet and walk." When physical therapy comes and accompanies me on a stroll I know that I am taking up my pallet and walking. But, I want to know to know more. What does the call to take up your pallet and walk look like? Is it more than getting out of the hospital bed? Where am I walking on neuropothied feet? Talk to me Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment