Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The first time I learned my baby brother could fly!

The first time I learned that my baby brother could fly was in the middle of the winter of 1976. He was four years old and all excited about going sledding with his two older brothers. Our mother had entrusted us with his life and in retrospect she either knew of his super powers or she was not aware that we were lacking in the super power of wisdom.

My brother and I were very familiar with the intensity and dangers of this particular hill. As we stood at the top we both would plan out our route. We would stand behind our sled and move like bowlers do moving our bodies side with each vitural turn. We imagined our trip down this old alley that we called our sledding mountain. The top section had been paved and built up over the years. It allowed for a straight and fast build up of speed in the first 100 yards. The last 200 yards of the hill began at the end of the pavement with sharp drop of 6ft to the old dirt surface. From there the hill made a slight banking left turn which was a blessing because just to right was the remains of an old house built into the hill. The wood part of the house had long since rotted away but the concrete back wall and basement structures were mostly still there. In the summer we used this area as a castle but in the winter it was a drop of 18 feet to the bottom. However, we were experts at sledding and besides the hill always gently pushed us to the left away from this drop off.

That year the plastic steering sled came out. Its was a plastic toboggan sled with two movable handles built into the sides. If you pulled on both of them it would act as a break or if you pulled on just one of them you could steer the sled in that direction. It was a technological advance beyond most sledding experts of our time.

It was probably this new sled that lead to our decision to allow our baby brother to attempt the full length of our sledding mountain. After all with this new sled, my older brother remarked with disappointment, "Our expert skills in sledding will no longer be needed. Even our baby brother Scott can go down the most difficult of hills and be safe."

So we placed our 4 year-old brother in the new steering sled and we both got behind him to push. When you remember back on memories like this one, it is easy to see the error of your ways. I mean he was 4 and at most 35 lbs and we were older, bigger and more aware of the power of gravity. Just the same we both pushed with every ounce of our strength. As Scott and the sled began to travel faster than we could run we both fell face first into the snow.

In that moment of time everything slowed down enough for us to rethink our actions. In those few seconds wisdom drifted into our pre-adolescent minds or maybe it was simply fear of what our mother would do to us if any harm came to our little brother.

Whichever one it was, we both jumped up, wiped the impacted snow from our eyes just in time to see the sled with my brother drop out of site as it went over the first drop off. We began to run as fast as or snow boots would allow screaming his name, thinking somehow that might distract him and he would fall off the sled and stop in the snow. Instead, Scott seemed to be fully relaxed and in control. He hovered over the snow, leaning into the turns as if he was a professional sledder. Then in a moment of amazement we watched as he tugged slightly on the right handle and began to head straight for the rise that lead to the 18 foot drop off into the old foundation.

My older brother and I stood there in awe as Scott and that sled seemed to hang in mid air for minutes. It seemed at first like he was flying but that was also the first time he began to believe in gravity too. In one blink of my eye lids he dropped out of sight and down into the that deep hole.
We ran as fast as we could, preparing ourselves for the worst and thinking of what mother was going to say. As we crested the hill and peered over the wall and down into the human made cavern we could see him. We could see him still sitting in his sled, laughing and bouncing up and down on the old bed springs that had both cushioned his fall and latched on to his sled.
Its a true story... and my baby brother did fly that day... He has since grown up and found new and different super powers. That's a story for another day!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Train Traveler and Disciple Reminder

She stood there with a book in her right hand and a carry-on bag in her left. As the train shuttered into motion again she looked down at the empty seat next to my wife, Amy. She noticed the book in Amy’s hand and said, “I’m a reader too so we will get along well. Ya, know some people you meet on the train just talk and talk… but not me.” She sat down and talked to Amy for the next hour only stopping because we were getting off at our destination.

The traveler sitting next to my wife started out with the easy non-controversial topics of politics and religion. After learning that Amy was a Democrat and minister and obviously a woman she replied, “I did not know that you could be a Christian and be a democrat.”

Exhausted and tired from the past 12 hours on the train, Amy calmly shared that indeed it was possible to be all three and that the church she belong to there were even Republicans, Democrats and even a few independents sitting in the same pews. Of course the traveler had never heard of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) but seemed excited to learn that one of our good friends was the minister at Central Christian Church in Denver, the travelers hometown.

The conversation ended in nearly the same way it started with the shuttering of the train only this time coming to a stop. The traveler said to Amy as we packed up to leave, “I’m going to have to think about my faith. I never knew that someone like yourself or a church like the one you go to existed. I’m going to have to check out the church in Denver!”

That’s the story, amazing as it is, it really happened and left me with this wonderful memory of what Disciples of Christ can offer the human community. At our best we are an amazing tapestry of people who do not always agree on all social issues or particular religious doctrines or even presidential candidates. And yet, the most powerful thing we do as Disciples is gather Together around a communion table and remember that with God’s help we are called to be one Body.

I think Disciples think too often that we are neutral in the way we live out church and our faith! Well to that traveler on the train, Disciples were to her like a breath of fresh, spirit air filling up her soul. And being reminded of this treasure by overhearing the conversation between my wife and the traveler was priceless! OR should I say proinquitous with the God I know!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Raymond, My Grandfather

On a Monday afternoon he insisted that his hospital bed be raised up so that it became more like a chair than a bed. I looked deep into his eyes and watched as my grandpa, now exhausted from a long life, relied on medical equipment to fold him into a sitting position. I reached out my hand for his and said, “Hello grandpa.” He replied, “Hello, Bill.” We exchanged several looks back and forth while others talked around us but never said another word to each other until it was time to go.

Eventually even the toughest farmers die. However, only then can their story be told for all to hear. My grandfather’s story begins in a chair. Yep a chair! Sometimes it was a kitchen chair at family reunions, other times it was a rocking chair on the sun porch but mostly it was his recliner chair in the living room.

As the Christmas wrapping paper flew through the air and grandchildren played with their new toys I remember pausing just long enough to see my grandfather peering out over the living room. His eyes were sparkling with a deep sense of happiness and satisfaction. He seemed to me more like king than a grandfather that day. I don’t know what its like to be a grandfather yet, nor do I know what its like to be a king but even when I was 10 I could feel my grandfathers sense of pride for what he had helped to create. It was a family—and based on the flying wrapping paper, it was a very large family.

In time, the family gatherings grew smaller as his family began to grow their own and move to other places in the world. Soon even the grandchildren started their own families and began to move to places and experience things that made it difficult to gather together as a complete family like we did when I was 10. Even I could not always return to that living room for the family gatherings but when I did, the act of seeing my grandfather sitting in his recliner listening to the latest story about a member of the family helped to hold, ever so delicately, the family together.

If only half the stories I have been told about my grandfather are true he would be a man of destiny and a hero to many. My grandfather was old from my first memories of him and that means that most of the stories I know about him were told to me by others before he began sitting in chairs.

He was a man who had survived a truck falling on top of him. His finger was once sliced off by a piece of farm equipment and he responded by grabbing it from the dirt, forcing it back on to his hand and wrapped it in a handkerchief. He still had that finger when I came to know him many years later. Before microsurgery my grandfather performed medical miracles. However, I think the most amazing and miraculous thing he did in his life was to marry my grandmother and become a father to my mother and her 5 siblings.

There are many more stories of my grandfather that I will write someday but they will only be an expansion of the story I saw begin in a chair that Christmas morning when I was 10. I only hope that when my own grandchildren see me sitting in a recliner watching them throw Christmas wrapping paper into the air they will see at least a small part of my grandfather in me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008 Intern Team

The season is done and I am free once again to reflect a little on my propinquity with God during the summer. I know that you would assume that when I spend most of my hours in the summer at church camp I would most surely have propinquity with the God who actually called me in to this ministry I now live. However, I think that these kinds of assumptions have lead many, including myself astray or to believe that through basic mechanistic motions and repeated actions I can make propinquity with God just happen over and over again. It just does not happen like that at all and I have learned that sometimes the hard way…

However, that is why when it does happen; when I get even a glimpse of God I treasure it in my heart and in my soul like it was breath itself. This summer was in the most ordinary way so wonderful to behold. It was not because of new record numbers at camp as we were under last year’s number and above the year before—So just ordinary or average. It was not because my life changed in some radical way and now I am a new person—Nope in fact it seemed to me that my life in general just journeyed along neither bad nor radically good. BUT that is why this propinquity moment is not about me and my life so much…

This propinquity moment is focused on the 2008 intern team. They did so many ordinary things together. They set tables together, built campfires together, got vehicles stuck and unstuck together, they did dishes together, hung drywall together, played in the mud together and built a waterfall in the process, they created games together, they laughed together and cried together. In the end, they created in the ordinary moments of life together hope for the church in the future.
PS. They also created in me a whole lot of propinquity with God by letting me mentor them just a little in the same everyday, ordinary moments of life. Their names are Charlie, Sonya, Will S. and Will B., Justin and Megan but to me they shall be known as the team that brought just a little more light to the darkness of this world.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An Old Friend and a new Memory

When he stepped out on the porch to check in his daughter for Junior mini camp, I immediately had the feeling that we was someone I had known in my past but my mind could not think quick enough to place what part of my past I was remembering. I went on my way doing my normal check-in procedures thinking I may never figure out who he was and how we knew each other. The memory was lodged in a deep part of my mind, the place I keep people whom I have spent day in and day out with for months. Yet, I still could not place him as he stood on Holy Ground Sunday afternoon.

As luck would have it he had a better memory. As he was heading out the door, he called me by name – in a question sort of way – to confirm his own memory I suppose. He then said, “You went to Culver-Stockton College, right?” “Jim! Yea that was his name!,” I said to myself loudly and the memories began to flow back in like rushing water. We lived in the same dorm and on the same floor for a whole year together. We sat next to each other and watched tv many nights in the dorm lounge and played a game of pool together now and then. Years ago, he and I had been in the same place and became friends.

Now, he and his wife are members at Noelridge Christian Church in Cedar Rapids. Though I have been there many Sundays over the past 8 years we have never made the reconnect until that moment on the porch this Sunday.

It was all because, Sue Thompson, Youth Minister at Noelridge Christian Church, encouraged Jim and his wife Robin to send their daughter to camp at the last minute. It turns out that the image of “rushing water” is key in this story. You see, Jim’s store that he runs was flooded with over 4 feet of water and because the store is where Jim’s Daughter has formed many memories of her father, she was taking the flood very hard. Sue thought maybe by sending her to camp, to meet other friends, to experience another place and form other memories – it might just help her balance out the memories of the flood.

Sometimes it is simply by being in the same place for long enough that we develop relationships that can linger deep in our soul. My favorite word is *Propinquity because I think it is the secret to forming relationships that give us hope in life. I think *Propinquity is what makes us care about others and I believe that it is what makes us the Body of Christ.

I witness everyday moments of propinquity (and RE-propinquity) on our Holy Ground at camp but I know, as the flood and our response has taught us again, this propinquity (Body of Christ) exists far beyond the bondries of camp -- IT is what makes us the church as God intended.

*pro·pin·qui·ty n.
Proximity; nearness.
Similarity in nature.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

T-shirts, Tattoos and a Family Tradition

The dirt was piled high and the heat of the sun was making everyone gathered seek out the shade under the funeral tent. Standing next to me, gripping my hand as tight as he could was my son, Tristan. In the front row was my cousin, whom I had not seen for nearly 17 years and she was bursting with tears and wailing louder than a chainsaw without a muffler. It was her mother that we were burying today but my mother stood behind my cousin and comforted her as if she were her own daughter. The family was represented by multiple branches of the genealogical tree. Standing in my dress shirt and khakis, I felt out of place among the t-shirts and tattoos. Yet, funerals have always been something that brings the family together. I don't understand it but I still go and so does the rest of the family tree. It seems that in this moment, with my son standing next to me and other children literally playing with my aunts hair in the coffin, while the minister spoke words of hope and memory, we have passed this gathering tradition on to the next generation. Each funeral builds on the last because as the family gathers again we cannot help but remember the funeral of my brother, my sister, my cousin bubby and others whose death has triggered the family gathering. As I stand there, wondering what my son is creating in his mind with this experience I find myself looking around wondering who will trigger the next gathering. When it comes to Propinquity with God I'm not a big fan of funerals. I suppose that I should be or at least I should be used to them by now as a minster but still in the end, I'm not! I believe in God and believe that God journeys with us but I struggle with the deeper questions of why people have to die. Maybe its enough that in those funeral moments I have propinquity with my family even if I don't always feel I'm in the right place.

Friday, May 30, 2008

College Picture - Things Change!

Change surely happens. We all know it and when my grandma found this old picture of me in my college mailer from 1990 it became all the more true for me. Sometimes when I look back at my life it seems like I moved through different worlds as I grew older. I often write about my Childhood neighborhood friends but there have been groups of people that make up these different times/worlds of my life. When I see pictures of them the memories of those times come flooding back. Its not that I really want to re-live them or somehow transport back in time to change things. It is just that I don't want to forget them. This picture has not produced a story as such, just revived a memory that may one day bcome a story. My College days were a wonderful time with some wonderful people but they were also a time when my whole family, including my grandmother, seem to collect every scrap of paper that told the story of the first child in our family to go to college. I know there is a story here but it wont come out tonight. Since the moment this picture was snapped I have lost hair, gained a few pounds experienced 6 new worlds of friends, gained a wife and child, served 3 churches, wrote a book, became a minister and finally returned to my home state. I guess what is important is that I do remember each of these snap shots of my life. Here is to more pictures and more people and many more memories.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Mowing Cycles of My Dreams

The grass was no shorter than seven inches and the mower I was using was under powered. I would push it forward 2 feet and it would chug and sputter and die. I would pull it back, yank on the cord and start it again and push it forward 2 feet and it would come to an abrupt stop. I repeated the cycle many more times than letters in this story. Yet I had to do this. This small plot of land I was mowing is now for me one of the holiest places on the holy ground we call the Christian Conference Center. It is our pond chapel and its not very old but it has come to be a place I would call santuary to me.

I only mowed for about 40 minutes and after finishing the task I sat down and looked across the water, breathed and remembered the last time I pushed a lawn mower through grass that was even taller just because I needed to do it. I was in the middle of my 7th grade year when I convinced several of my friends to help me mow the grass of the abandon lot in our neighborhood. There were stories about who used to live there and why they had to destroy the house years ago but mostly those stories were known by previous generations and not part of the way we understood life or our neighborhood. It was just a lot that no one took care of and the grass grew tall.

So we started early and began mowing, pushing our lawnmowers into the heavy grass time and time again. With each time they would choke out and die and we would pull them back and start them again and push them forward into what had seemed to most an overwhelming worthless task. I dont know why I had to mow the grass of the abandon lot in my neighborhood, I just knew I was going to do it. In the midst of neighborhoods full of drugs, broken families, abuse of many kinds and too many adults who had given up on dreams of anykind WE, the children and youth of Holt street, played into the night on our freshly mowed field of dreams. We got our picture taken in the local paper and I am glad that I still have tall grass to mow now and then to remember when I first noticed that God was encouraging me to dream and build sanctuaries for all who need them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Toy Cars and Nothingness

I can still feel the vibration the toy car made on that concrete retaining wall. I was 9 and my best friend was 10 and we would play cars together. It seems silly to be talking about playing cars some 30 years ago but it is the place and time I have the privilege to escape to now and then. I'm not sure what pulls me there but I think it has something to do with those innocent, non-programed, non-driven, non-pressured, and just plain simple moments when one friend plays alongside another. That something is hidden in the quiet moments of nothingness that we seem to have less of as we grow into adulthood.

These moments are not gone completely in my life yet! In fact, I experienced one tonight as I finished my run I lay down on the cold concrete and looked up at the darkess of the sky and just looked. . . At first I saw nothing but darkness and it was good! Slowly I began to see hints of stars and when I looked deeper I felt the vibrations building up in my hand as I remembered driving that toy car with my neighborhood best friend. Before that moment was done I had experienced nothingness and a sense of deep down happiness that oozed out in the form of goosebumps. In that simple moment I knew again, like the first time I knew when I was 9, what I was created to be! I hope everyone has these moments . . .

If someone asks how do I know God has propinquity with me, this kind of story is all I have to offer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


My parents arrived today as they normally do; spontaniously and unannounced. They just decided that it was time again to come see their son, well the only son that lives more than 3 blocks from them. My parents are now at the age that their topics of conversations revolve around new pacemakers and joints that wont work like they used too. However, when it comes to my parents they are also a good midwestern farm people so intermixed into these age-driven conversations are stories about how yesterday dad climbed a ladder and dropped a 85 foot tree that the neighbors said someone his age should never attempt to do. My mother is not far behind as she was lifting the logs onto the splitter. Mom turned 70 this year and Dad will turn 75 in December.

The foundations of who I am are surely built from their DNA and many of my instincts in ministry were surely trained by growing up as their son, in a rural Iowa town in a family that had very little money. This environment created in me the ability to seek out memories and meaning in the everyday moments of life. This instinct is in me as much as my instinct to breath.
I love my parents for everything they are and everything they are not. In many ways I have grown beyond most things they understand, I have learned things that they never knew were to be learned and I have gone places that they dont know exist even today except through my stories. Yet, sometimes when I tuck my son into bed and listen to myself ask him about his day I hear my parents in my words. I am overwhelmed with memories . . . and I like it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Pterosaurs and Fatherly Development

So it happened to me during the Easter Sunday worship service in my 39th year of life! Some fatherly instinct kicked in just as the service got underway. Tristan and I sat midway back on the left side of the sanctuary. He grabbed the bulletin and began marking the pages in the hymnal for each song in the service. This had become a little of routine over the last year, not so much to help me find my way through the service as it was to mark the progress of time until he was released to freely run through the church. Its not that he does not pay attention in worship as he often repeats back to me main themes and phrases from the sermon on our way home but he is 9 and his youth worship receptors must be located all over his body. I think this because he roles around in the pew, moving in multiple directions at once apparently to better “be in tune with God,” so he tells me. He often moves to the music in a way that distracts every bone in my fatherly body. He often creates things in his mind as well as with any physical object he can get his hands on.

On this Easter Sunday, during the most quiet moments of the pastoral prayer, with my head bowed and my eyes mostly closed I caught a flicker out of that part of my eye that was not closed. Then the sound of flapping paper, which seemed more like the loudest noise maker every made. As I looked over to Tristan he was animating what I learned later was his version of a large pterosaur. In that moment, I lightly touched him on the knee and gave him that fatherly look of “Please stop doing that so other people will stop looking at me and thinking that I should be controlling my child more particularly during the quiet moments of the prayer.” Ok it’s a very complex look but he knows it well.

The worship moved on but my mind was still back at that moment of the flapping pterosaur. The Choir began to sing and I began to figure out how I was going to nonverbally communicate to my son that what he was doing was so sacrilegious. Just then, out of my other eye, I saw a father 3 rows up nervously watching his 2 younger daughters dancing in the isle to the rhythm of the choir’s anthem. Then, I saw the grandmother sitting next to the father, put her hand on his shoulder and whisper something in his ear. Whatever she said caused him to relax his body. Then I noticed that many in the choir were smiling while they were singing, seemingly rejoicing that these two young girls were acting out the excitement and joy of Easter that they, as the choir, were hoping we in the congregation would experience. And you know what, we did, thanks to those two young girls dancing in the isle.
So what happened? Well at 39 it seems that this way cool, laid back, casual acting, youth minister kind of dad was about to give my son a signal that making the flapping sounds of a pterosaur during the morning prayer was sacrilegious. The only good news for me is that I did not, well at least not totally and I learned from a friend that eventually dads grow out of this stage when they become grandfathers… Happy Easter…

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sunny Iowa Emerges Again

The sun is just setting here in Iowa and I can hear a sound I have not heard for many months; it is the sound of birds loudly singing their beautiful songs of life. The snow is beginning to melt away; transforming the land into streams of mud and water. The tempurature warms the skin again and the smell stimulates the senses and makes my soul feel ready to live again. This winter has been tough on people and I have not been ammune to it myself. I have done what all good midwesterners do... I have endured, I have shut down my emotions, I have slowed my reactions, I have protected myself against the cold and depression of this time of year but always at the cost of creating some protections from others pain and joys as well. I have to admit that I now envey areas in the world that do not have 4 seasons like Iowa but I also have to say that Lent and Good Friday seem different when the death and hopelessness are as evident as looking out my own window. However, I write this note not from the bleakness of Winter... I can hear, taste and smell the beauty we call Easter and new life and Spring even if it is not quite here. Hello to the world from Sunny Iowa...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Water Dreams

I love to swim. I don't get the chance to do it much anymore as an adult. I remember in late grade school and through Jr High I would walk to the YWCA on Thursday afternoons to go swimming with my friends. It was a good mile walk but my parents let me do that for some reason. I remember the smell of chlorine as I would head down the back steps to the locker room and pay my 1.25 to the attendant. I remember the sound of silence as I would sink deep into the water and just dream.

I also remember one particular night walking home in what started out as a light rain. Then came the wind and near tornados. My memory says that as I was making my final approach to the house steps I had to fight, my way through the wind to the point I really thought I might blow away. I can remember being very scared and yet telling myself to remain calm and keep walking. The thing about that memory is that today when I reflect back on it I am not for sure if that night walk in the wind and the rain was real or just a dream that became real to me over the years.

Either way I like the image... Tonight I met God again in the creation of a new memory in a different pool. This time I spent the evening swimming with my son. I could smell the chlorine and it was kind of like a dream again. I was very happy and knew I was on the right path. It was such a great time of splashing and laughing that it seemed like a dream at times. I think we should do this more as adults... let our dreams inter mingle with our life so that what we dream can become what we live and what we live seems like a dream. Isn't that propinquity with God at its fullest... Hmmm not sure but its what Im thinking today...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Inspired to Believe

I continue to believe that we must find ways to help youth and adults find a passion for the story of our faith. Too often our sermons are flat and not that inspiring to our congregations. Too often we just play games with our youth and never give them a chance to really deeply believe. I mean the kind of belief that bubbles out in everything that we do. Maybe it is that we must do what we can to help each other to believe that there is part of God in each one of us. I mean really believe it! Words fail me here but a movie that does an excellent job of teaching this point just came out on video. Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium is all about the process of helping each other discover the spark (of God) that is in us and then we can Stun The World! My own son happens to look like the 9 year old character so that bias me a little but I think this movie has so much to say to Disciples of Christ that I am going to use it as a bases for the curriculum for ICYF. That is my thoughts for today...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

God Is Here!

Three plane flights into the darkness, flying over the land that I could no longer see I landed once more in my home airport of Des Moines IA at 12:30 am on that cold Friday morning. My exhaustion pushed deep into the tissues of my heart I was ready to be home. All I needed now was to go the baggage carousel and pick up my bag. How sweet it was to watch the bags start their march in and out of the people gathered with me that evening.

I watched with fear and trembling for my bag, looking over each one as it came through the opening in the wall knowing that I surely knew what my bag looked like. I had used this bag on my travels for the last 4 years. I had made 17 trips to 12 different states. I had felt every zipper on each of its openings and had noticed each of its flaws and scars from our journeys together and caused a few of them due to my need for extra stuff that only sort of fit with some highly misplaced nudging. I was one with my baggage.

I looked at each one and starred deep into its ridges with the hope that it would be mine and we could reunite and head home together. On many occasions I would push my way through the crowd to reach for my bag only to realize that it was not mine and apologize for my passionate pushing. Stepping back I would look over the winding luggage again hoping to spot my bag from afar. Several times I was sure I saw it and even reached out and turned the bag over only to not find my name on its back cover. I then started to see or hope that I saw my bag in each of the now remaining abandoned bags being lifted off the moving belt to be stored in the back to await the time when their owners would come and claim them.

In that moment I had to admit that I was not seeing my baggage. I knew then that I was going to have to stand in the line at the desk for lost luggage. Being the optimist I am I said to myself, “Hey, I don’t really need my shaver, medicine, toothbrush, or keys to my house.” I could make do, I could adapt as I often do and besides it was only 1:15 in the morning now. It was still early and I still had 7 hours before I needed to get back up to take my son to school. So I stood in line for help to find my bag.

Nearly 13 minutes ticked by as I waited for help, not that I was now counting the minutes and becoming less and less optimistic. The attendant took my luggage claim tag and put the numbers into the all knowing computer and what should it say… well it did not say anything but the attendant said, “Its saying that your bag was check on to this plane. Are you sure its not one of those bags I just took off the belt?”

So with great embarrassment I walked over to the abandoned bags in my exhausted state and sure enough there with the other 14 black bags was my traveling companion I knew I knew so well. Relieved and glad for the reunion I grasped it with all my strength and headed out the door to my car.

It was now 1:37 according to the clock in my car but at least I was now on my way out of the parking garage heading home. As I headed to the exit ramp I noticed a frail old man pushing his even more frail wife in a wheel chair up and down the parking isles obviously looking for their car. The 8 degree wind was blowing the snow through their coats as they walked and even in my exhausted state I could not just pretend that I had not scene them or believe that someone else would surely help them or force myself to accept that this was not my problem. No, all I could hear is that “God is here!” This one I could not ignore.

I pulled up alongside them and asked if I could help. In short, by the time I did what I could for them it was now 2:15 and I was finally headed home with my well-known luggage that I could not recognize and had not noticed it even though it was their in front of me.

God is Here. How easy that should be to hear. However, I often do not notice or notice too late when God, who I know I know so well, is directly in front of me.