Note of explanation by Belinda; post by permission of my friend, Dave Hingsburger, whose blog, Rolling Around in My Head , is one of my daily reads.
God had me and five of my friends on the British Isles yesterday: Jamie in Ireland with his daughter Candace; Ron and Susan were on Skye and are now in northern England; I was in Alvechurch, close to Birmingham, in the West Midlands--and Dave and Joe flew into Birmingham where Dave will be starting a three week speaking tour, arriving so tantalizingly close to my departure that there was no way to meet. It was so hard to know that they were so close, yet unreachable, that I sent Dave an email with the subject line: Missing You, Literally!
When I arrived home in Bond Head last night, there was an email from Dave and it was so beautifully written, and such a fitting farewell to Alvechurch for me this time, that I asked if I could publish it and he said, Yes! Here it is:
You know, years ago when I was a child, I liked to sneak upstairs from Sunday School and into the sanctuary after the services were over. I would sit all alone in the pew in the hush and quiet. I always felt at peace there. I always felt safe. It struck me then that I could feel that God had been present in that space. Like that feeling you get when you've just missed someone you really wanted to see. Like if you'd been 5 minute earlier you would have had a wonderful reunion. I felt the presence of 'him who was there 5 minutes ago' linger.
why am i telling you this?
Joe and I were driving to Birmingham along M42 and noticed an exit for Alvechurch. We looked at each other. I reached up and clicked the GPS off and we drove through wonderful, beautiful, country roads heading for Alvechurch. We arrived and I saw in real life what I'd seen from your photos and in my mind when reading your blog. We drove through the village center seeing the Red Lion pub and the ramp up and in.
Suddenly I felt that feeling again. Someone important to me had just been here. Someone who I missed meeting only by mere minutes. I had that feeling I had as a child sitting in church. It was a lovely feeling.
We see a lot of villages like this one in England, but Alvechurch was different. I'd lived here, I'd lived it's history, I'd lived here as a child. All through your posts on Whatever He Says. Reading your writing has allowed me to experience this little town as if remembered rather than as if discovered. Alvechurch has, I realized, become part of my history because I've spent time visiting in my mind.
Like when I went to Aberdeen the setting for a series of novels I like.
Like when I went to New York, the setting for movies I'd seen.
I wanted to thank you for that. I felt oddly proud of the beauty of your little village.
I felt you there.
I felt like I'd just missed you.
I was a child again, having just missed God but knowing that we would, however, meet.
Like you and I will meet.
Dave Hingsburger and/or Joe Jobes