For the past several springs, since my Living Faith column has been going, this time of year has been a showering for me in terms of speaking engagements.
A couple weekends ago, I had a chance to speak to a lovely room full of ladies as part of their annual spring luncheon and program. I pulled together a new talk on “cultivating peace,” and looked forward to blessing the women with this presentation. But as is often the case, I was the one who left feeling blessed.
That event started with a prayer, and included songs from women from the church about peace. A luncheon followed my talk. The table displays included a bit of spring green and a cross. And I was given the chance to sell my books and mingle a bit as well afterward.
As guest of honor, I felt very loved and embraced even before I’d uttered one word. Quite a few of the women told me they are regular readers of my column, and so in some ways, I think, they felt they knew me already. And a few did know me. I was surprised by my friend Mary’s mother, who lives in the area, and by my father’s cousin, who lives not even a block from the church. My daughter and I stopped by her place for a bit afterwards — a complete and unexpected gift that the day brought.
And then last week, another event at another church with another group of just-as-lovely ladies here in Fargo. I didn’t have my helper along this time so didn’t get any photos, but the evening began with a delicious, catered meal featuring stuffed pork chops, baked potato, lettuce salad and chocolate pie for dessert.
After the meal — which a friend of mine helped serve (another surprise!), we all headed upstairs to the sanctuary, where musical numbers were shared by younger congregants, along with a devotional, prayer and introduction before my talk. The evening ended with a darling puppet show that fit with the theme of my presentation, featuring Martin the Church Mouse. The children giggled all the way through. And afterward, each child who came to hear Martin received a spring flower.
I was gathering my belongings in the back when two of the kids came up with flowers for me — May flowers! What a delight.
Times like this, I have to pinch myself. It’s nothing I would have expected back in early 2013 when I approached the publisher of our local newspaper to see if he’d be open to me writing a faith column as a regular feature. His openness to my idea has led to a very fulfilling weekly assignment to write about faith, in either feature-story or column form, for my local community, and ultimately, to my visits to churches or other venues a handful of times a year or so (I seem to be busy with talks in the fall, too), and the chance to be blessed by fellow seekers. They approach me with the hopes of being encouraged in their own faith walk and believe I might have something to offer. I hope they come away feeling as inspired as I do.
I always go away from these events feeling humbled and happy. All I can think to do is look upward and smile at God and say, “Wow,” and “Thank you.” I could not have guessed these fruits — these flowers — would come as a result of my desire to write about what it means to experience a “Living Faith” in these times, but I am glad and grateful for the showering that has been part of my “yes.”
Q4U: When have you found one open door leading you down a path of blessing?