A Simple Gesture

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Tunnel falls eagle creek trail

It is amazing to me the impact of simple gestures.

On my last day of volunteering at general conference I had a really rough morning. It was good to begin with.  I was able to be in the plenary session praying over the area. I saw God moving in really awesome ways. It was encouraging and it was a powerful time.

After three hours I moved then during the break time into the prayer room. That was a good space to be. It was a place filled with the presence of Jesus. Watching people praying and experiencing God was incredible.

While there, I had a family phone call that I needed to make. I excused myself in order to make it. Unfortunately the phone call triggered me, being very difficult.  It  left me shaking.  When I returned to the prayer room, I was the one in need of prayer.

I asked to see a spiritual director. I got to see a friend of mine Melissa, from Alaska. As I entered the place of prayer, I began to sob uncontrollably. She sat there, tears brimming her eyes, hands open, a simple gesture of holding the space open for me to be and feel.

The power and the awesome gift of the presence of Jesus was made manifest through her. Eventually I was able to share my story, her questions led me to a deeper self understanding and an awakened heart. She allowed me to find meaning even through my pain.

By the time I finish that appointment, my shift as a volunteer had ended.

I made my way to leave the building and bumped into an awesome pastor and friend Rev. Clay Andrew.

I asked him what had happened in the second half of plenary session while I was at the prayer room. As we talked another friend, and incredible pastor, Rev. Courtney McHill came up and as we bantered, he began to fiddle with some bills he’d taken from his pocket, organizing them from largest to smallest on the top.

“You giving away money?” Courtney joked.

“Sure,” he said, flicking a $1 off the top and letting it fall to the floor.

“Not from the top,” I joked, “how about a bill from the bottom.”

“Oh,” he said, “one of these?” And he flipped a $20 from the bottom and handed it to me, laughing.

“Yes,” I said, “one of those.”  And stuck the $20 in my pocket.

As our conversation ended and I was about to leave, I reached up to tuck his $20 bill back in his shirt pocket, but Clay said, “Hey, what are you doing? You can’t give it back.  You asked for it.  It’s yours now.”

“Clay–  seriously?” I said.  “I’m well-provided for.”  But he insisted. And I stuck the bill into my wallet, surprised by grace in this simple gesture.

“What’s that, Jesus?” I asked regarding the bill.

“A gift, Child.  You watch.  I’ve given it to you, so you can give it to someone else.”

On Saturday a group of us walked the 4T trail.  (If you’ve never done it yet with a 3-year old, picking up many magnificent sticks, splashing in every puddle, and touching all the vertical bars of every fence, you haven’t lived😂.).

We came to Marquam Shelter and two high school girls had set up a snack area to sell to a tour group walking the trail behind us. They were raising funds for an upcoming trip to Japan.  As we chatted the Holy Spirit reminded me of the $20 in my wallet. “It is for them,” I heard.

As I paid for some $1 soup, I used the $20 and told them apply it to their trip.  We shared just a bit, but it wasn’t until later that it struck me– that $20 was for others taking a journey, and it came to me on day that was a journey to my own heart, and the bill itself, given as a simple gesture, became a symbol of God’s magnificent grace, provision for the Way I am taking as I walk the Camino.

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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One Response to A Simple Gesture

  1. kshimer says:

    You have a wonderful way of seeing Jesus in the everyday things. Your camino walk will be greatly enriched by this practice. thank you for sharing.

    Like

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