For about a week, I have been experiencing some curious interruptions such as having my thumb caught in a heavy gate latch. Astoundingly painful, but nothing was broken. However, there for a couple of days I could not grasp anything with my dominate hand. I think that set off a chain of small events as I had to alter some plans, and generally slow down. Then last week, I arrived at a community all set to hold a Bible study and discussion only to discover an exercise class going on. While scheduling snafus do happen, this one surprised me because the receptionist called me the day before to confirm my time. She was on the phone, but paused a moment to confirm that the class was indeed going on (yes, that made me smile) and then went back to her conversation. I knew the Activity Director was out of the country, so I decided to simply wait a few minutes and read my emails. About 20 minutes later, she came over to me and asked if I could wait about a half hour more. I declined that invitation saying I had another a service to lead and that I would see them next month.
As I was walking to the second service, I mulled all this over, and asked God what was going on. No clear answer emerged at that moment, but as I placed my hand on the door to the memory care activity room, a question arose. What if every twist, turn, and delay was simply leading up to this moment? I opened the door to discover one of my favorite families in attendance. The mother lives in the care community. She is quiet and withdrawn, until it is time for her to take Communion. Then, her inner light begins to shine once more. She will always take my hand and give me a blessing. The daughter not only visits her mother regularly, she tends to her husband who was in a serious car wreck. He lives at home. He must use a wheelchair, and can speak very little. Yet, he is very engaged and so yearns for conversation. I can sometimes decipher what he is trying to say, but often I need Sarah to help interpret. That day, her two brothers were there as well, and they always add another level of liveliness. They sing. They thank Jesus loud and often. The whole family takes delight in worship because they take delight in the One they call their Lord. I also think they are genuinely grateful for this ministry that simply tries to show up in love. They respond to it because that is the world they inhabit. I told them the next time they have a family reunion I want an invitation. I am not so much envisioning a reunion but rather a white tent revival.
The interruptions and delays that I have been experiencing are nothing compared to what is going on as the fires burn north of here. Yet, learning to accept and live into whatever interruptions are before us is a spiritual practice. It is those moments that nourish patience, resilience, and faith. We learn that no matter what, God is with us. This is the world we really inhabit, whether we find ourselves in the midst of destruction and despair, or just simply needing to pause and let that presence be known once more.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
then you will dwell in the land
and find safe pasture.
Find your delight in the Lord,
who grants your heart's desire.
Commit your way to the Lord;
if you trust, then God will act,
and make your righteousness
shine like the light,
your justice like the noonday sun.
The Ecumenical Grail Psalter