Jennifer Brock Olson of Spokane, WA, USA
May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace! -Psalm 29:11
I feel we are all islands-in a common sea. We are all, in the last analysis, alone. And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about. -Ann Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea, Pantheon Books, 1955, p. 35
I had a very independent younger sister. A few years ago we disagreed about the above statement-she accepted it as true; I resisted. Five years and several books later, I decided she and Ann Morrow Lindbergh were right. We are alone. We are on our own individual journeys. No one else can do the traveling for us. However, after summer reunion and youth camp experiences, I was forced to deal with the paradox of believing that although we are on individual journeys, we cannot travel alone.
That year, as directors of our Samish Reunion, we found we were minus many of the folk who traditionally took leadership roles. Realizing that we could not do it all ourselves, we asked people to not only try on new roles but to do double duty. We had our bishop teaching the primary class, teens assisting the cook, the guest minister playing piano, and campfire leaders singing and dancing through dish duty. Campers gave of themselves in ways they had not done in the past. I was blessed by everyone’s willingness to stretch.
As co-director of the Cascade Youth Camp, I was unsuccessful in finding a cook. I am no cook, but I convinced Teresa Bruch that together we could fake it. Less than a week prior to camp, Lorraine Salzman, a real cook, became aware of our predicament and volunteered. Lorraine completed an exceptional staff. Because of that staff, I could leave the camp, travel to New York, and be with my independent, younger sister as she faced chemo. I was able to offer support because others supported me.
So where am I at right here, right now? I am on an individual journey-a journey I am able to continue because of my community of fellow travelers.
(Adapted from Inland Stream Newsletter, Fall 2006)
“…all things in God and God in all things” (Mechthild of Magdeburg).
Reflecting on Presence
Breathe deeply and become present to the Presence with you here and now. Take a few moments in the silence to reflect prayerfully on the following questions:
Where have you been aware of God’s presence in your life?
What is God’s invitation to you in this story?
How do you desire to be more open to God’s presence and invitation tomorrow?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.