Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Unexpected Day

I haven't blogged in a month... So much for my pledge to be more disciplined in putting my thoughts down and sharing my journey! But to be fair, the last month has been quite a ride. And while I'm not ready yet to share the complete story of all that's transpired over the last month, I can say that this journey is teaching me two things: 1) God has a sense of humor; 2) God's timing, while hard to understand from a human perspective, is always perfect.

February 18th started out like any day off with my hubby. We covet our Monday's together, protect them at all costs and make every attempt to make our day together special. But we had no way of knowing just how special this Monday would be. It was a gorgeous day, and I was anxious to get out in it with my camera. So we decided to drive east to Abbotsford for brunch, a little shopping at the House of James, and a drive in the country to capture some photos of Mount Baker and the glorious sun shine. The perfect day... or so we thought.

It is there that our story of February 18th took several unexpected turns... It all began as we drove along a busy country road, and noticed a homeless man. As we passed him, I commented to my husband about the cute little dog perched on top of the man's shopping cart. No sooner had I said the words, however, than were we horrified to see the cart -- dog included -- tumble down the embankment into the deep ditch below.

Without thinking twice we immediately pulled over and my husband got out to help the man. I stayed with the car watching for minute, noticing that there were several onlookers from a neighboring business, and was disgusted to see that not one of them seemed interested in helping. Not sure how much help I could be, but determined not to be yet another onlooker, I joined my hubby and perched myself at the top of the ditch so I could grab onto the things they handed up to me.

It took us several minutes, and several set backs when the cart fell not once but twice back into the ditch, to retrieve all this man's belongings, but I'll never forget his gratitude. With tears in his old man's eyes he thanked me. His humility was a sharp contrast the the cars that slowed down to take a look. As we watched this man and his dog walk away, suddenly our determination to spend our day "frolicking" in the sunshine and having some fun seemed frivolous, even meaningless.

As we got back on the road with a deeper sense of gratitude for all we had, we both felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Westminster Abbey. It was a perfect day for it, and we both felt that some time of reflection and solitude at the Abbey seemed fitting after such a "Samaritan" experience. The Abbey's simplistic beauty, coupled with a very real feeling of standing in the presence of the Lord was made even more poignant by the "what would Jesus do" moment we'd had with the homeless man. The quiet majesty of the Abbey's chapel took my breath away and yet filled me emotions I've never experienced before. It was the perfect place for my camera as the sun streamed in the stained glass windows, but better yet it was the perfect place to sit in solitude and unload the stress and burdens of life. Both of us had hoped to "escape life" on that Monday, but instead life hit us between the eyes and the Lord met us both in individual ways that afternoon.

There is more to this story, and to what happened to cap off what turned out to be a profound and life-changing day, but I'll save that for another post. For now... I'll leave you with some photos of the Abbey. May they inspire you to visit it some time, and spend your own afternoon in God's presence.

Go here to read part two.