Stay with your feet

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The night before I left, Grace, Gabrielle and Gabrielle’s boyfriend Matthew, all came over to dinner with Karen and I. We had a great sharing and prayer time before departure.

During the evening, Grace said something that stuck with me. It pierced me. It reached to my core. It was the simple phrase, “stay with your feet.”

imageAs i left the next day, said goodbye to Karen, flew to San Francisco and then to Dublin, I was pondering the call to be present where my feet were. I was present doing yoga with Karen that morning. I was present saying goodbye. It was my call to be real, be present to the teacher who had just spent a year in Auckland and was flying home to Dublin on the flight from SFO.

Be present to Andy our dear friend who met my flight and whom with his wife Louise, hosted me. Be Current. Available. Engaged as we connected after three years. Remarkable that they would welcome me again, a virtual stranger, into their lives!! We shared deeply that first evening over dinner and in subsequent conversations. Rich fellowship. Deep similarities in life stories. Connected points of pain and recovery. We used the same language to describe our stories.

It is easy to become distracted in a conversation but I was consciously present. My feet were there, at table, I too needed to stay present there.

Stay with your feet, Shimer.

The next day I found myself wandering the wet shining cobblestone streets of Dublin. I love that city!

A man, lost in Dublin, accosted me for assistance finding his way!! Ah “the blind leading the blind,” I thought!!

This dear man had recently arrived from India and was more lost than was I, an incredible thought! And, equally marvelous– I located his street on my small map and was able to direct him to his destination.

Stay with your feet. Remarkable, for on that day I was frequently lost and needed the assistance of others to be find my way.

Actually I received the same instructions more than once- “keep walking that way,” they’d tell me, pointing, then often added, “it’s basically a straight line from here.” It was anything but…

Staying with my feet meant walking — some 13 miles that day — noticing the people, being aware of my own heart, in touch with the environment around me, and finding the “way” anything but straight. Praying, giving thanks for the angels who helped find my way. “Step through the garden, turn right, and it’s basically a straight line from there.” “Follow this way to the end, turn left, and the road be right in front of you.”

I lost and found big buildings in Dublin — Trinity College, Dublin castle, Christ Church and the National Museum — reminding me that I needed to not worry forward, but stay with my feet in the experience of being disoriented, slightly lost, finding the next set of directions.

Some of those Angels were: the young black woman with the beautiful smile and super curly hair who ran from her station in front of the whiskey museum around the corner and got “a better Dublin city map” for me, found where I was and how to follow the basically straight line!

The policeman in his crisp uniform who in finding my actual location on my map pointed me in the exact opposite direction than I thought I needed to go 😳🙊 and instructed me to follow the road ahead for my destination was “basically a straight line from there.”

The large, portly, smiling, gray-haired woman in the tourist agency who handed me the map saying, slightly soured on life, “it’s the only thing free around here.”

The museum greeter, with his rosy red cheeks, half glasses, gray hair, and jovial expression, who made me an official badge, and found my friend Andy for me while I waited in the lobby.

The tour guide in her smart suit who pointed me in what turned out to be the wrong direction, but because she did, a sign in that way got me on the right path.

All these, and more, helped my feet take my next step in hopefully a better direction, to focus not on the destination but on the path. To stay with my feet.

I joined the long line of 200-some passengers for the plane to Bilbao, but, because I had delayed in boarding, then visited the toilet one more time, returned to line to find, there in front of me, a girl with a small backpack. And there hanging on the back of her pack — a Camino shell. My feet had placed me behind a fellow pilgrim.

In our brief conversation before we boarded, I learned we will be walking the same route but starting from different places. She had walked a good portion of the frances route three months ago and learned all she didn’t need. Back now meeting her family to walk a portion of the northern route she had shed all she wouldn’t need. Her pack weighed only 9 pounds!

I arrived in Bilbao to the shocking news that the “Bilbao hotel” I’d booked was actually a nine-hour drive away in another city! Oops!!! Staying with my feet meant accepting that mistake, the disorientation, the fear and just move forward without a rush into the future or the past!!

On my first day walking 13 miles, 3090 feet up and then down again, I’ve found I’ve needed to stay aware of my Feet in the way of caring for their needs they’ve had– taking off my shoes, rubbing down my feet, stretching out.

On this journey hopefully I will simply stay with my feet!

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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6 Responses to Stay with your feet

  1. This post reminds me of this video, Brian. Both are fantastic!

    Like

  2. Beautiful Brian. Hands and feet of God leading you in their direction.

    Like

  3. Beautiful Brian. Hands and feet of God at work in their own way.

    Like

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