Sunday, January 4, 2015

From the Third Floor

"Life is like riding a bicycle," explains Albert Einstein. "To keep your balance, you must keep moving." And moving is what I'll be doing this week, as I drive cross country to California, with a trunk full of books, and surfboard strapped on top of my car, not knowing exactly when I'll be returning.

This Einstein quote started the sermon I heard this morning, where at the end of the service, I went to the prayer area and rounded up a few people to pray for me, for complete healing of my body. I had wanted to do this last Sunday, the day I took my final malaria pill, but I didn't get the memo that the service time had been changed. I arrived just in time for the closing songs which I naively thought to be the opening songs, until the closing benediction was prayed over us.

Still, after making the 45 minute drive to Ann Arbor, I wanted to attend a church service, so I quickly departed that church, and ventured a couple of miles down the road to the Lutheran church I attended my first semester of college. The parking was a bit tricky. I ended up parking a few lots away and hopping over a fence to get to church. Thankfully, I wasn't wearing a dress, so I could easily navigate the short cut. (I later realized, it's not so adult-like, let alone lady-like, to be hopping fences when you're in your mid-thirties. Oh well. At least no one was looking.)

I arrived mid-sermon, as the pastor was sharing the story of how he experienced God at work in finding the perfect home for his dog that he could no longer house. His story reminded me of our dog Doobie, who was named after a joint, that my family took on when a woman from our church showed up at our home distressed, crying to my mom about how the man she was going to marry in a few days didn't want Doobie. (He was a widower, and felt his 5 kids were already a lot to handle.) Her tears convinced my mom to take on Doobie, which we naively didn't know was named after marijuana until a decade later. Well after, my Dad stood on the front porch of our home in Down River Detroit, and frequently called after him. "Doobie. Doobie. Doobie, where are you? DOOOOOOOOBIIIE"

My Dad was a pastor at the time.

But the pastor at the Lutheran church last Sunday morning was trying to make the point that sometimes it's in the little things that we can see God at work. It's not always just about the stories, where for instance, someone falls out a thir... story window and lands safely on the ground.

I didn't catch if he said third or thirty, so I asked him on my way out of the church, but he couldn't recall what he had said. But his example, of what he framed to be a unlikely way God might work stuck with me, because I knew someone who had "fallen" out of a third floor window.

I met the man in Times Square a few summers ago and we ended up grabbing drinks. Over conversation I learned he was in Haiti when the major earthquake struck in 2010 and he felt a strong pull to jump out the third story window where he was at the time. If he hadn't stepped out the window, the floors above him would have crumbled on top of him to his death. But he felt this force to jump, and he landed bruised up a bit, but he lived.

He explained to me that it felt like some sort of God thing, yet he didn't exactly believe in God, so he felt like it was this force that spared him his life.

Kind of like how we had met in Times Square, he explained. A similar force brought us together, he tried to convince me.


Anyway, the man was in the town for meetings at the UN, happens to own a gold mine, and has played basketball with the President a few times.

The past several weeks, he has been on my mind (not for dating reasons), but I have experienced a prompting that I should get back in touch with him. After that Sunday morning example, I'm all the more convinced I should shoot him an e-mail this week. Again, I don't know exactly why, but sometimes in life things stir in you and perhaps it's the Holy Spirit, and perhaps it's not. But you mind as well move forward and see... and see what God does with it.

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