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.