I knew this trip would be a pilgrimage...not just a visit with my daughter, old friends and a few relatives, seeing old and new places. I knew there would be lots of opportunities for reflection on life, ministry, calling, past, present and future. And there would be lots of food.. at chain restaurants in the middle of big cities,at Irish pubs with singers, at a bistro with a roaring fire in a rainstorm, in the modest homes of friends on missionary support, or in more elaborate homes with hillside or oceanfront views owned by friends very blessed financially. Each of them living out their Christian lives with many blessings and many trials, each of them with their own reflections on ministry, service, vocation, God's leadings, each of them with their own stories of moving around from one place to another or staying put for many many years.
Take today for instance. We are experiencing gorgeous early fall weather on an island off Vancouver Island, the sun blazing in the window as I write in the home of the camp cooks at a wonderful Christian camp which has flourished for more than fifty years. My husband built their first rowboats in his first summer in Canada in the 50's. The founders of the camp still live here in their 90's, setting up the camp after spending years living in a boat called the GoForth and journeying up and down the B.C. Coast spreading the gospel. They have spent their lives on this coast and in this camp. We had lunch with other camp staff who have been planted here for many many years also, never, as the husband said, having been told by God to go elsewhere. Our hosts, on the other hand, have moved every few years, blessing various ministries with their cooking expertise. Their daughter came out with us to Uganda in her mid teens to help us homeschool our daughters, and had what she called a "pivotal" time with us there.
This morning we meandered our way to the wharf and considered taking a rowboat out on the very breezy water, and thought better of it. Then the sailing director came down to prepare the four Catalinas for the campers who had just arrived. We had a lovely chat with him instead, hearing how God opened the doors for him and his wife to leave their ministry as worship leaders and pastors in a church where they were burning out. We reflected on balance in ministry, self care, and being led of the Spirit into ways of service where we can work with teams and not wear ourselves out doing too much.
I reflect on the motel room excellent wireless connection the Lord provided for me two days ago to take my Life Coaching online exam, which I had been too busy to finish studying for before we left on this trip. I muse about His constant provision and protection over me and all His children, and yet I long to be able to get on with new work and ministry and not keep having so many lessons of trust and patience to learn. I champ at the bit to know how the future will look, how I will combine my coaching with my counselling studies, and my dreams of ministry and creative ventures. It might seem I am still the driven person I have often been.
I go now, however, to read a novel on the porch in the sun, to bless God for His constant faithfulness to me again and again, and to put my trust in His timing and leading for yet another day, another journey, another phase of life. I look forward to Thanksgiving with our only B.C. family on their turkey farm and another look at life through the eyes of others. There are many reality tests on this trip, and all of them call me to reflect, to observe, to share and to trust, to forgive myself and others, and to move ahead in trust. This is my daily bread today, my food for thought and pilgimage.