Sunday was one of those incredible, long, rich, “walking on sacred turf” kind of days. The whole thing, the orchestration of events, the place of God in them, the opportunities, the ways I could look back and see how God led, and at the end of it, God put a title on it.
The title came when I arrived home at 7:30 pm and saw that my neighbors, Rita and Michael, were sitting observing the day from their garage. I’ve wanted to touch base on the fact that I am leaving soon, so walked over. In our conversation which touched on many subjects, I brought up my upcoming sabbatical. As I described what I was going to be doing, beginning with walking the Camino, Rita gasped, got up and went into the house.
She returned with the above book “Follow that Arrow,” saying: “Just today I want to the book reading and signing for my cousin at Powell’s, as her book is a bestseller. She wrote it on walking the Camino. Before she did this, I had never heard of it, and here you are the SAME DAY saying that you are going!”
“Follow that Arrow” was the book title, and I thought how much that day had been a day of “following.”
I’d begun it at 6 am leaving to walk to church for first service and then to Christ UMC for our joint second service after the completion of Camp Iwannabe, which completed on Saturday. I walked so that I could get a ride with the Strobel family after worship to the airport, since they were departing on vacation, to wait in departures for Karen to arrive, then I would take her car and bring it and Zack the dog (who travels with her) home.
The first arrow to follow came during first service as Michele brought up how Faye was doing and we followed Jesus to pray for this dear sister for all of us, who’s been a mainstay in this time of worship for years, and a best friend to Michele. Faye had been struggling with multiple cancers for months and Michele said, “I don’t know how she is going to make it” with tears. So, we prayed. It was one of those powerful, “Jesus is in this” prayers, and we just soaked in it for a time.
Following became a theme as I walked to Christ UMC and got to follow multiple times as opportunities arose to share, to lead in prayer and then to preach with Brett. We are a great dialogue-message team, made for “following” one another. The whole service was one of those brilliant moments in worship. Jesus was leading.
After church another “arrow” came in a text, then a phone call from Michele, who had taken communion over to Faye after first service. She had arrived at the house at the same time as Faye’s husband, and Michele was the one to enter first, and made the discovery that Faye had died. Sometime, perhaps as we experienced that intense time of prayer for her, our prayers became her entrance into a glory that we have yet to experience. The shock for Michele and Rein, Faye’s husband, was immense. I got the call as I was riding with the Strobel family. I had no way to “get there” until I met Karen at the airport. At that point Michele had made contact with the granddaughter and was going to wait there for her to arrive.
During the next hours I practiced being present to those I was traveling with, praying for Michele and her roommate Elizabeth there to support her, and Faye’s family, while being unable to do anything else except stick with the plan for the day. I got to see the Strobel’s off, bought lunch, and waited for Karen. She arrived just before 2, and we were able to share a brief, significant story from her day as we traded places, she headed for departure, and I drove to Faye’s.
As I arrived, the granddaughter and grandson were there, waiting for me to come for the granddaughter wanted me to pray with Faye’s body and them before the body was taken away. It was there that Jesus showed me he’d been leading all through the day. The timing of this arrival was just what they needed. Had I been there earlier, it would not have been as significant for them. So, we went in, and prayed with body in which Faye had lived this life, and prayed her into God’s merciful hands and us into the service of God as tears flowed.
In another appointment that followed this, I watched God’s grace unfold in that life, then I then ended up in Rita and Michael’s garage sharing about the Camino, the Way, and about the above book, about following, and realized how this day, every day is about following God through this life. That takes pretty straightforward trust. Follow.