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Friday, October 25, 2013

October 25, 2013 The night Before Walking out of the Shadows

I am having a Gentle time of it tonight.
Had  a high Carb supper with my dear friends  to get ready for the walk.
My darling wife was at work... 
After supper, I quickly answered  some correspondence then jumped on my motorcycle and headed off to Wal-Mart to get some (made in North America ) headphones.
On the way back I stopped in to see the folks holding our overnight youth event at the parish hall.  
Home now, tucked in with my laptop, listening to Eric Clapton doing some acoustic music.

In a few hours I will get up, shake the neuropathy out of my feet and hands and head for the door.  Tomorrow I will  start walking on a journey that is real and symbolic at the same time.
In the Church we describe Sacraments as something we can see, hear, feel, taste , touch and experience as that which connects us to the Grace of Our God.
I have shared that the walk to Glenwood was something I have been wanting to do for a long time......
Dreaming of it actually..... through tears of frustration, when it was all I could do to walk the 60 feet or so from the Rectory to the back door of the Church in an attempt to get moving again.

I used to go over to the Church to be alone and try to face the new reality of being broken, busted,angry and afraid.  (Yes bit of self pity too)
I will always remember the overwhelming feelings I had when walking around St. Martin's  on those never-ending days ,wondering how much longer I would be here...and wondering If I would ever be able to lead this Church again........ When Cancer treatments are done and the folks say good bye...you really feel alone.
 At first ,I held on to each pew to keep from falling. Gradually I made one, then two circuits of the Church building before sitting down.
One day I made it up to the balcony.  

The image of the Valley of the Shadow is one that relates well to the human condition. In my life I have been there a few times; most recently driven by Cancer to the place Psalm 23 refers to as:
 Be-gei tzalmavet : A Death like Valley of Shrouded Darkness.

I know this place has been visited by many, and for many different reasons. A great cloud of witnesses can attest to this.

I always believed that I would see our Lord in that place, but have never been naïve enough in thinking that any journey we must take in life was always going to be a smooth ride.

Indeed, it wasn't until I surrendered and admitted my frustration, anger, fear, disappointment, pain and unbelief to myself and THEN honestly and openly before God, that I was able to see the Grace that  surrounding me on my treacherous sojourn in the Valley and in the slow steps that I was finally able to take towards the other end....

 Now, three years after my treatments are over the Oncologist has told me that my MRI is good, Chest X-Ray is good and I am still headed in the right direction.
 Good timing! Tomorrow I will walk  symbolically, sacramentally out of the Valley of The Shadow.
Adding  to this symbolic spiritual Exodus is the number of people who have clearly told me that they are walking with me.

There are people walking with US all...those who have made it, those who are still in the Valley, those who miss their loved ones...a number too great to count; each one precious to God. I will be praying tomorrow, and remembering you. I thank God we are together.

Yes ... I am having a quiet evening. Getting ready for the walk tomorrow, and feeling very thankful for those who have caught the spiritual vision of this. Also very thankful for the young people who are walking tomorrow.
It is such a powerful feeling to realize that the phrase "companions on the journey" is something I have had witness of through my illness and recovery...indeed at the heart of any Church that is authentic is real compassion, patience and Love. 

We are meeting at the Goose in the morning (7:45)  Having a prayer and taking a few snaps.
Friends have arranged for vehicles to accompany us, and we will end our walk at St. Andrews Church. The doors will be open, and the heat will be on as the Church welcomes us we gather for prayer.

At this stage of my life I am able to look back and see the hand of God in the darkness. How thankful am I? May my life show it Lord...not just my words. But bless every word if it be your will.

1 comment:

Irene Saunders said...

God bless you Reverend John and all your walkers that will be with you tomorrow and to experience this with you .Enjoy your day !!!