Monday, August 4, 2014

Knocking On Heavens Door...

When Tom and I travel we rarely go to the same place twice. There are myriads of places we want to see in our lifetime and so we take every opportunity we have to visit those places unknown to us. There are a few exceptions to this and one place we do return to year after year is the small Island, Sonasali off Viti Levu, Fiji.
Sonasali literally translates to Resting Place. It is a small Island near a bigger Island and in days gone by travellers from faraway places would stop here and rest before travelling onward. It is the same for us. We stop and rest here before travelling onward. The only planned event we have is sitting on the deck at sunset and watching as the brillant red-orange sun slips into the ocean. We will even set our alarms for that.
There is one other event that we enjoy as returning guests. The general manager hosts a cocktail party on the beach and we have been invited for the last several years. We know most of the staff and management so this is like a party with friends we only see once a year. We watch as the sun sets and sing along with the staff and other guests. We try food we have not had before and meet people from all over the world. We struck up a conversation with a Chinese family and then the father sang O Sole O Mio in Chinese with the Fijian Quartet. It was awesome! We had a great time.
When they started to sing Knocking on Heavens Door I looked up and thought it was so very fitting. These moments of sheer beauty are like a tonic to my heart and soul. I could think of no better words to describe the moment.

Where One or More are Gathered

Several years ago I attended a cultural sensitivity training inservice where I was to learn about all the differences in the many cultures within Fresno, California. I was working as a Public Health Nurse at the time and had spent several years caring for families in their homes and felt I had learned quite a bit from these 'up close and personal' encounters. I sat for hours and listened to the instructor as she worked so hard to point out all the differences. I have never forgotten this inservice. Not for all the differences I would learn about or remember but for this simple fact: I am able to relate to others based on our similarities rather than our differences no matter where I am.

I had the lovely opportunity to connect with some wonderful women while in the village of Nawaido. I am not sure how this came about exactly but before I knew it we were sitting together on the floor enjoying a lively conversation! We talked about what most women talk about...our families, our day to day lives, our dreams. We laughed so hard, I cannot remember when I had so much fun with a group of ladies.

Gone were the differences of culture. These women from this very remote village had just caught buckets of fish with spears earlier in the morning. They picked vegetables and fruit from their collective gardens and worked together on the floor of the Chiefs house to prepare our meal.They cooked for thirty five us over an open fire. Life and culture were certainly worlds apart but when we came was awesome.

I will not forget these ladies. They reminded me that life is for enjoying and being open to new opportunities. I can do this anywhere. I want to do it more often. While I am fascinated with culture I love the universal connection we made even more. Thank you for the afternoon girlfriends...

Saturday, August 2, 2014


You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where my feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves

When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed, and You won't start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

This is the prayer I have spoken every day for the last several months knowing of our time across the oceans and to the places He would take me...deeper than my feet could ever wander. It has taken a while for me to sort the feelings associated with our change in plans. My human side wanting a clear understanding and wanting it immediately. Feeling the need to be able to explain to the thirty-one people who were traveling with us and our beloved friends in the Solomon Islands who were waiting for us exactly what happened and why. I do not have the answer yet.

What I do have is the beginnings of peace. His Peace. I am finding it in the stillness of my days here. I listen to the breeze rustle through the trees and I feel His breath. I watch the flowers as they reach towards the sun and I can see His light. I hear the waves crash on the rocks and I can feel His power. I watch the beauty in a sunset and I see His majesty. And my faith is being made stronger in the presence of my Savior.
I feel the stirrings of change within me. I am ready. My prayer, to go deeper than my feet would ever wander. While this has a somewhat symbolic meaning with our upcoming pilgrimage I am beginning to realize that what I really want is to go deeper. I have become comfortable in my familiar. Even my 'unexpected' is comfortable and I know there is more for me. A season of change...

As I look back I can see that this process has been a while in coming. Retrospect is always so much clearer and easier. A word that had once caused me pain now brings me the most profound comfort and peace. Relinquishment. I am just be...and that's the beauty here. I don't know what it looks like yet. My season of fullness is about to change and I am not in a hurry to fill it up. I just want to be...somebody's wife, somebody's mother/grandmother, somebody's friend. Most of all to be taken deeper than my feet could ever wander, my faith made stronger, and to be in the presence of my Savior.