And so it happened. They were walking along and talking. Suddenly a chariot and horses of fire came between them and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven.
2 Kings 2:11 The Message
The past seven days have been something of a whirlwind for me. I haven’t really had much time to take a breath and seriously think about it but I know that in the midst of this latest busy trek on the path to home, I have experienced the very presence of God.
I knew that presence as I sat next to a colleague who just six months ago gave me some of the greatest words of support and encouragement that I have ever received. I still carry that note with me and it will always bring me joy!
I knew that presence as I sat at lunch with a colleague who has prayed for me and my family during a time of transition…One who calls me “Scottie” and gets away with it…Who insists on hugs every time we meet and I don’t mind a bit.
I knew that presence as I sat in continuing education sessions with a colleague who has supported me in a Covenant Group for several years with prayer, encouragement and accountability. He is one who knows my sense of humor and appreciates it always.
I knew that presence when I ate dinner with a colleague who helped my daughter through a very special time in her life and we shared with each other about our “other” homes. I know that I will be praying for him and his girls even as he prays for me and mine.
I knew that presence as I worshiped with clergy from all over the West Virginia Annual Conference at Cedar Lakes and felt their affirmation as I stepped into a new role and a new place I will call one of my homes.
I knew that presence as I met with my Clergy Covenant Group at the best place in West Virginia to enjoy crab cakes – Crabby Patti’s in Ripley – and we shared our joys, our worries, our hopes, our struggles and our dreams in the midst of much change in our Conference “home.” I know I am praying for them, but probably not as much as they are praying for me. And yet I know they still love me.
I knew that presence as I ate dinner with my Mom and Dad, and Mom’s Aunt and Uncle and then visited with them even more that evening and the next morning. I heard stories I had not heard before and heard others that triggered memories long ago set aside as we shared about family. I felt connected to generation after generation of my family and I felt the presence of God.
I knew that presence as I shared a lunch with a friend who I not only still trust with my health care but is one that anyone can trust. It was great to spend time with one of God’s healers who is still humble enough to live into their humanity.
I felt that presence as I was reunited with my family after a few days away – laughter, stories and great donuts made for good times! “Friday Night Lights” with the Princeton Tigers and their wonderful band and a fifth quarter at the church that went on till Saturday. (A soft bed made for a good night’s sleep as well.)
I felt that presence in the moments – that came quite often – when I thanked God for the great staff members who were caring for everything at First Princeton UMC.
I felt that presence as I worshiped with my newest church family and felt their grace, prayers and support after a long week.
I felt that presence as I watched the churches of the Princeton Parish (UMC) unite with community members of Princeton to serve those around us by cleaning up two local parks and a fountain area downtown.
Ah…the whirlwind…I felt it. And even though I know these recollections don’t come close to naming every moment I felt it, I know that it is carrying me closer and closer to home.