Dogs and Sunglasses
Finally got out of bed (I know it’s not the proper English but it’s how I feel). Dressed, went outside and walked around the corner. Found a small shop that sold bread and coffee. There was room for two customers in the doorway before the counter. A man and his dog were standing there. He was ordering and the dog looked right at me. Right through my sunglasses or so I imagined.
The man invited me to squeeze in. I told him that I didn’t speak enough Spanish to understand him. He said it in again in perfect English. The dog did a little bark. I bent down and the dog sniffed my hand and again looked into my eyes right through my sun glasses. The man and I talked. He helped me order. I’m lactose intolerant and took a small chance on a thing that had milk cooked into it (See Brad, I remember what ya said years ago about trying- so far, almost 30 minutes later I’m fine). And we talked some more about what I’m doing here -the Camino de Santiago.
He said, “I don’t believe in all that religious stuff.” I felt that since he had introduced religion, I was free to talk a bit about it. I gave him a sticker and told him about Vet Church and Veteran Suicide in America.
Things then became serious. He told me about his own draw to Suicide. He had tried and failed. I am glad he is still here. I think that dog knew who I was. I think he saw the Angels traveling with me.
Vet Church is serious stuff. I finished up my coffee and paid for my breakfast. I noticed Dire Straits song, So Far Away From Me playing on the radio. I switched it on my headphones as I walked away. I realized that God is saying that I’m too far away from Him. He is right here with me. He has given me gifts, talent, and ability. But I am too far away from Him.
As I walked (slowly the blister still burns) I began to purpose in my heart draw nigh to Christ. Mandy Thursday years ago, Jim Coyl of the Pensacola Beach Church invited me to officiate the Maundy Thursday service with him. I accepted the invitation. At one point while standing there during that service, I was back in the Chapel in Jalalabad Afghanistan. I heard Jim calling my name but I couldn’t move. He continued the service. The experience probably lasted about 10 minutes for me. I was just there in Jalalabad in that little Chapel. Then I was back. From that moment till this very, I know that I am still a Chaplain.
I ain’t like the normal ordained pastor. I was called and gifted to GO and BE with people who are hurting. I’m called to see their opportunity to lay down the guilt and shame. For some reason I am gifted in the arts not to be the “famous” painter or musician but rather to share art and the Joy of God’s Salvation as it works in me.
I was humbled this morning. God was talking to me, using me, pulling me even- before coffee, as the saying goes.
And that dog. Looking right into my eyes, right through the sunglasses.
I was given a ticket to the Guggenheim Museum along with the overpriced hotel room. So, I am going to go and sit and walk and sit. I’m listening for the Breath of God (Gast, Spiritus) to speak to me. Wherever you are today I invite you to do the same. Take a moment, sit and listen, allow your body to heal, allow your soul to hear the still small voice of the Holy Ghost.
I ended the days events with a Maundy Thursday service. It was in Spanish. I didn’t need to understand every word. I understood what I needed.
After the service I went in for some Indian food. After my attempt to speak Spanish the guy started speaking English, there was some serious comedy in that moment. Then I made my way back to the hotel. Currently watching the A-Team in Spanish. I love it when a plan comes together.