So, P took it down. Rope and all. And shoved it in the closet.
He's done that before --shoved things in the closet. We looked for weeks for the round tables. Searched high and low. Figured some one had "borrowed" them... and never returned them. Then, one day, P was helping set things up and he pulled them out of the closet...
We looked for weeks for the special folding chairs, too. Bigger. Softer. There were only six of them. We found those in the closet too.
I suppose I should have looked there. But experience doesn't always play its hand in my logic. And when Joel told me that someone had stolen the flag, well... I believed him.
And its not as though we hadn't looked in the closet, or been in the closet... it's just that we were blinded because we didn't expect to find those things in the closet... .
So... the flag wasn't stolen. P had put it in the closet... .
So... Joel is relieved. And embarrassed. That he went to the "stolen" thought first.... Oh well.
And I am reminded, once again, that it is only rarely that things seem to be what they appear to be. Joel said this morning, 'Let's just take the dogs, go drive out to the middle of no-where, and start walking until we stop walking.' And then he was silent for a moment before he said, 'But, we will find too many snakes....'
So, I finished the list for him. 'And spiders --the huge tarantula kind, and porcupines, and coyotes, and wolves, and bears...' Thinking he had slipped in to some kind of idyllic romanticism I said something to the effect of '--get real...'
But he said in response to my list, 'Exactly.' And the pause in both of us filled the air... yes, exactly. Thanks be to God.
'Well then,' I said, 'why don't you walk a little bit with me later this summer?'
Last year we had a youth group from Delaware join our youth in a forty-mile trek --a pilgrimage of prayer for the People and the land. Some got it. Some didn't. But it was all good. And holy.
The idea had come to me in prayer after I had buried 100 People or so... and felt I needed to 'do something' for myself and for the People.... And the walking prayer emerged from within. To circumnavigate the Reservation in prayer. But, then I aggravated my achilles tendon and the doctor put me in a cast and said --rest this tendon, or else... And the day the doctor slapped the cast on me, I received a call saying, 'how about a pilgrimage?'
God works in such mysterious ways....
So, as it turns out, in trying to save $$ for the youth program for the second priest for whom we have been praying without even knowing who that person might be... yet... I decided to just walk, as I had imagined before. This year, the prayer will continue, God willing... across the top of the Reservation for the next 60 miles or so....
So, when I said to Joel, 'why don't you walk a little bit with me later this summer?' I meant it....
And he said... 'Oh. Yeah. That walking would be a pilgrimage, wouldn't it....'
There are at least two types of pilgrimages --one with intent, and the other with a goal and intent. Mine is intent... intent on prayer for the life and well-being of the People. And, because the People know themselves to be inextricably interwoven with all of creation --with All Their Relatives-- for the 'Land' --and all the life, all the beingness that is there --the water, the air, the creatures, things seen and unseen....
And, just as they were last year on the Walk, so it shall be again and ever so --nothing will be as it appears to be.... --the dangers and joys on the walk are like life itself --the walk is life... and life is The Walk... The Way....
--no idyllic romanticism... but hunger, fatigue, aching muscles and feet, an emptying ---and fulfillment...
--walking without a goal... but with great intent...
--and it seems, this morning at least, that there could be goals named... Health. Life. Reconciliation. Restoration. Resurrection. Liberty. But, in truth, those have already been achieved, once and for all....
--and we go around looking everywhere for them... thinking they have been stolen from us, misplaced...
And... whups, there they are.... deep within... where we never look or expect to find anything...
Wherever you go, there you are....
At prayer this morning (Psalm 107:33-43)
The LORD changed rivers into deserts, *
and water-springs into thirsty ground,
A fruitful land into salt flats, *
because of the wickedness of those who dwell there.
God changed deserts into pools of water *
and dry land into water-springs.
God settled the hungry there, *
and they founded a city to dwell in.
They sowed fields, and planted vineyards, *
and brought in a fruitful harvest.
God blessed them, so that they increased greatly; *
God did not let their herds decrease.
Yet when they were diminished and brought low, *
through stress of adversity and sorrow,
(God pours contempt on nobles *
and makes them wander in trackless wastes)
God lifted up the poor out of misery *
and multiplied their families like flocks of sheep.
The upright will see this and rejoice, *
but all wickedness will shut its mouth.
Whoever is wise will ponder these things, *
and consider well the mercies of the LORD.
Deserts. Rivers. Fruitful harvest. Adversity and sorrow. Contempt on nobles, the lifting up of the poor....
--nothing is as it appears to be....
Thanks be to God.
And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well....