What Josie Taught Me

Our precious grandchild Josie taught me all kinds of things as I was with her these two weeks: “Give thanks when getting cleaned up in life!” (She calms down as if to say just that. Sometimes I have less gratitude.)
“Let others help you!” (Right- no choice at her age, but she receives. Do i? Do you?)
“Enjoy sleep!” (Seeing her sleep on anyone’s shoulder, or in someone’s arms, or in bouncy or crib looks to me like she is enjoying it!)
  “Take time to just look at the day!” (She does this, looking around, noticing angels and other notables.)
“Be yourself!” (There are no other options. But it seems in adulthood we sometimes try to be anyone but just us.)
 “Nestle don’t wrestle,” the famous saying from Corrie Ten Boom, came to mind as I watched her settle into the safe arms of mom or dad or others.  
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (She demonstrates this when eating. God-blessed milk. And also seen at her baptism.) 

“Rejoice in God and all God does.” 

The last two came as I beheld how she received baptism.  

The Orthodox Church lives baptism with a richness we can only hope to glean from. Of course we do use some of the ancient language used since the early church, but fall far shy of their elaborate celebration.  

The godparents hold the infant on behalf of her parents vowing their spiritual responsibility to the child’s spiritual life. 

  There are prayers of exorcism commanding all wickedness to depart from her life. These are thorough cleansing prayers.(http://orthodoxwiki.org/Exorcism
Prayers for the anointing and seal of God’s Holy Spirit are offered — oil placed on her forehead, eyes, ears, mouth, hands and feet– she just received this. Not a complaint. 

 Of course she was dunked three times in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. She loves water, sputtered a little at going under three times, but then had this immense joy in her face: Like this was the best gift ever– like God was gloriously present in her.     
  She was dried off by her godmother and dressed in her baptism gown.  Then the baptism ritual continued with more prayers, anointing, and the baptismal dance, a walk three times around the altar.
Thoroughly baptized. We all were richly blessed. Immensely loved.  
Today as I got to hold that precious little girl again for the last time for a season, with tears,  I gave thanks for the gift of this time, and for all the lessons she’s taught me. Life cannot be measured by what we do or accomplish. It must be measured by who we are. Josie- you’ve taught me this. 

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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1 Response to What Josie Taught Me

  1. Wild Willy says:

    Nicely put Brian, we are to come to Christ as little children and when we do this is what it looks like.


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