Thursday, June 8, 2017

Well, another year has gone by without my posting.  Clearly, I'm not such a good blogger.  But this has been a crazy, wonderful, busy year, filled with new places, new friends, and new experiences.

I fulfilled a bucket list wish and finally made my trip to Italy.  It was so amazingly full of sights and sounds that it's difficult to single out one or two, but I'll try.  One of my favorite places in Rome was the Piazza Navona.  It was a gathering spot for all of Rome, and not just for tourists.  It was enchanting and exciting, relaxing and renewing, inspiring and meditative.  All at once!

I saw street performers, street artists, jugglers and magicians.  But I also saw families, people going home from work, and visitors from war and wide.

One night, in a small area, there was a cacophony of languages that must've rivaled the Tower of Babel.  All of it was so interesting.  And the food!  The cafes!  All of it wove its magic in me and around me.  I surely threw those coins in the fountain so that I would return one day.

Of course, I also visited the typical sights, including the Vatican (the grounds of which are shown in the photo to the left, with St. Peter's Dome in the background), St. Peter's Basilica, the Square, the Piazza de Republica, the Pantheon, Trajan's Column, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.  But we also went to the Catacombs and St. Paul's Outside the Walls, which was one of my favorite places of all, not the least because its ceilings were spectacular as can be seen in the picture below.

I rode the hop on hop off bus, traveled in taxis, met people from Rome and the countryside, and really, really loved being in La Bella Italia.  It didn't hurt that I ate pretty doggone well, too.  Some day, I hope to return to sit in the sidewalk cafes, to meet people, to watch the world go by, and to fall in love all over again with this wondrous, magical, fascinating place!

It's been nearly 10 years ago that I spent the summer in the Tetons.  I was fortunate enough to serve as a Chaplain there in the summer of 2005.  I find myself missing those wonderful mountains and all the special places I would go in the Park...places that called to me when I wanted time alone or time with God...time to ponder the beauties of this world and time to seek answers.

Here I am 9 years later, still pondering and seeking, longing for the grandeur of the mountains, the serenity of the lakes, and mostly for the peace and solitude that comes with wide open spaces.

Recently, a friend suggested that I am really a soul who belongs in the West.  I think she's right. Places like Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Oregon and even the red rocks of Arizona and Utah seem to call to me.  So this week, I find myself wondering about where I really belong in the grand scheme of things.  Where...on so many levels.

One thing's for sure.  I'm a lousy blogger.  This is my first post since 2010.  In that time, I've learned that pilgrimages can be 2,000 miles away in the Tetons, 6,400 miles away in Israel, or 64 feet away in my own backyard.  Pilgrimages are more a state of mind than a location.   For that, I am grateful, because it means I can make pilgrimages often.  I hope to make more pilgrimages to distant places where I can learn and experience new things.  But I also hope to relish the chance -- each day -- to go on a pilgrimage of learning more, growing more and loving more.  And I surely hope to take some folks along on these journeys. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Summer Sizzles

Well, I'm doing a little better on posting since it's only been a month and a half instead of two or more years!  I am still surrounded by boxes, both in my office and at home.  I have moved.  I am now back in Augusta, Georgia.  I was here five years ago.

This moving thing is for the birds.  Well, that, and the fact that I still have entirely too much stuff!  Seriously.  I really did get rid of quite a few things for this move and yet, I am still burdened by all these things.  And it truly is a burden. 

As I have been unpacking and putting things away, I can't help but think back to where I was just a little over a year ago.  Cape Cod!  What a wonderful, wonderful place.  It was on my bucket list for literally decades.  I had wanted to go there for the longest time.  I finally made it.  And now I'm thinking back on how special it was.
This was the view from the deck of my house that I rented last year.  To the right, at night, I could see the lights of Provincetown way off in the distance. To the left, I could see around from Sandwich toward Plymouth.  This is Cape Cod Bay.  The sounds, the seagulls, the skies, the sunsets...all were so glorious and so relaxing.  It helps to picture myself there now, instead of seeing myself buried in piles of boxes and stuff and things.

I hope this summer is a time when I can find the energy and the determination to jettison some of the stuff and things, whether they are tangible or not, that are a burden on my life.  May it be so with you, too.  May we rid ourselves of the things holding us down or holding us back. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

If you've ever tried to visit my blog, you will note that I am a terribly sporadic blogger.  That is obvious, since this is the first time I've been here in over 2 years.  I can only laugh at myself.

It's not that I haven't taken any pilgrimages.  It's that I haven't taken time to document them.  Somehow, I get caught up in the moment and forget to post.  So, here I am again.  Ready for another adventure, and this time, I'm writing about it, at least for today! 

I am moving.  I have been serving as a Pastor in the Acworth-Kennesaw, Georgia area for 5 years, but now I am headed to Augusta to be the Pastor-in-charge at St. Mark UMC on Washington Road.  I am looking forward to new challenges, new adventures, new ministries and new friends.

Later this year, I am headed to Italy.  I will try to post here about THAT adventure!  For now, I am in the throes of moving -- trying to sell a home, buy a home, pack everything up, still go to work, and not lose my mind in the process.  A daunting task at best, it is made even more difficult because, as much as I am looking forward to my new appointment, I will be leaving behind good friends, good memories, and hopefully some good ministry moments.  Stay tuned.  Here I go again!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Some pilgrimages aren't physical.  What I mean is, sometimes, we take pilgrimages of the spirit, the mind, or the soul while our body stays in one place.  That's been happening to me this week as I have struggled with a few health problems. 

My struggle has caused me to lose heart, to become despondent, to feel lost.  And yet, through it all, I have not felt alone.  God has been beside me.  I feel his presence. I have even seen the glimmer of hope for a better tomorrow, all because of God's light and love.  I've learned new ways to pray, and discovered, again, that even in the darkest hour, he is there. 

I come to this Sunday morning with a new ray of hope in my heart.  This pilgrimage isn't over yet, but I'm still learning...learning from God, from my body, from my spirit and from my heart.  Each day is mine to live, and live to the fullest.  And for that, I thank God.