The Trail

IMG_6946“Let’s not look ahead,” I wrote.

Karen and I were texting about situations in our days, and my statement caught her.  She wrote back a while later, “I have thought two or three times already about the suggestion… let’s not look ahead.  So important.”

Sometimes we want to try to know the trail of life ahead of time.  We don’t want to just walk, be present on the walk to the moments we encounter, but we want to see what’s coming.  It is interesting that we can actually do this in some situations, like reading a novel, when we read the end early on, or in a movie when we know how it ends, but in most of life we cannot know the future.  We cannot check out the path ahead of time, we cannot know the turns and bends that await us.

Karen and I when we married in 1981 did not know what God would walk us both through by way of healing.  The journey has been immense as we both have had to face and walk through the pain of the past.  Even though it has been excruciating at times, and we may not have wanted to walk this path had we known, still, we did walk it.  And both of us would say, we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Of course there are ways that looking ahead is important — like planning for a big trip, and joyfully anticipating what is to come as you travel. Or like driving aware of the road ahead of you!  That is different. But the kind of “looking ahead” we were texting about, is the kind when we decide what the future of a relationship will be based upon the present difficulties.

On Saturday 6 of us headed out to walkIMG_6947 the 4T trail again this past weekend. We walked from the church to the Sunset Transit Center, took MAX to the Zoo, then walked the four miles up to OHSU, took the tram down to John’s Landing, the Street Car (or Trolley) into the City Center, ate at the food carts and then took MAX back to the Sunset Transit Center and walked back to the church.  Rather, that is what we anticipated doing.

The trail was beautiful. IMG_6950We shared cool conversations along the way. IMG_6949We did have great meals at the food carts, but then discovered after waiting for the MAX for about 30 minutes that it was broken down.  Suddenly our day changed. Instead, we walked to Powell’s and waited for bus #20 to get us back to Sunset Transit Center.

What a gift that wait was!  We got to be present to people.  Lots of people!  And we got to meet this homeless, Vet named Aaron and pray with him and love on him with food gifts.

Perhaps had we looked ahead and realized that the MAX would break down we might not have wanted to take the walk, but because we couldn’t know that, we just had an adventure together.

Now within a month to the departure day for the sabbatical, I’m excited and seeking to just live the moments. The tendency is to just “live into the future” without living in the present.  But I would like to experience the whole trail, wherever it takes me.IMG_6951





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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2 Responses to The Trail

  1. David Luce says:

    Thanks, Brian, for your further email. It seems to me that your life is one big adventure! It really is. But so lovely to get your update, and to know about the recent walk with your friends with its unexpected venture!

    As you prepare for the Camino you know that we are with you in thought and prayer, and I know you’ll keep us up to date.

    The Lord’s blessing be with you and yours beyond measure.

    All my love,



  2. This is awesome, Brian. It will be my mantra this week, “Let’s not look ahead.” And I loved seeing the pictures of your journey. What a beautiful place!

    Liked by 1 person

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