Tomorrow David flies in from California and the following morning we begin the drive home. So much has transpired in these intervening four weeks: memories made, laughter shared, irritations surmounted, grief confronted, and a sense that I have done what I could.
Please do not misunderstand. I did not accomplish all that I would have like to do, but then when do we ever? But God allowed me to share faith and hope, resources and strength, from time to time with those desperately in need of both.
And God also put people in my path to share their faith and hope with me, an unexpected blessing. Take this morning, for instance. I went down the street to a local bank to get a roll of quarters for the washer/dryer here at the hotel.
As I approached the bank doors, a uniformed officer stepped out and smilingly asked, "Are you from California?" gesturing toward my car where the rear license plate indicated just that.
"What part?" he asked with apparently genuine interest.
"You visiting or on vacation?"
"Visiting family. We have a relative over at Duke who has cancer."
"Me, too", he said gently. "My mother has cancer and has been treated both here in Charlotte and over at Raleigh. I just told her this week that she needed to exercise not just faith, but outrageous faith. What is your family member's name?"
"His name is K."
"I'll pray for him and I'll ask my church to pray for him, too. Meanwhile, you try to enjoy this beautiful day. God bless you."
A complete stranger, and a uniformed officer of the law, taking the time and trouble to share his faith and assure me that he and his congregation would join us in prayer. Amazing.
I am once again struck by the contrast between life here in the South and where I live in Northern California. People seem friendlier, more open, and a great deal more likely to talk about their faith with just about anyone. They are not pushy about it, just open.
I have sometimes wished to move back to the Midwest or the South, where I so enjoy the openness and warmth of the people. But today I was reminded that wherever we are, we can choose to be more open, even if it is met with skepticism, or in California, more likely cynicism. We are a leery, jaded bunch out there.
I have more than snacks to munch on, as we head the Buick back to Sac. I have food for thought. * * *
Dear Lord, Thank you for those you put in my path this past month with words of encouragement and faith. Help me to be faithful and willing to speak a word of encouragement to someone else.
Do you think that people in some parts of the country are more open about their faith than in other areas? Has someone spoken a word of encouragement to you this week?