Earlier this summer I shared with you our journey home from Florida in our 2008 Winnebago, affectionately called the “Pugabego” in honor of our three pug fur babies we had at the time of its purchase fourteen years ago. In that writing I mused how we had talked of our RV becoming a “Mitzvah Mobile” to bring Messianic Judaism ideas, encouragement, and interchange to others. Last week we mused over each of our abilities to shine brightly sharing the Divine love we receive incessantly. This week both ideas came miraculously together, and created even more joy – the inevitable God Winks of encouragement.
As most of you know, our dear Cheryl/Chaya’s husband Jerry passed away during the time that a number of us were at the UMJC conference in North Carolina. Blessedly, Gary Halzel brilliantly officiated at a graveside service and a number of our Ruach community and others were there to support Chaya and give Jerry a send-off filled with angels. As Chaya and I have connected in the days following, our Abba has made His Presence known in so many inexplicable ways to further provide comfort and tangible reminders that He is with us – always – everywhere.
As Sid and I left the conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I was chatting with Chaya, she shared that Jerry’s mother still lives there! Of all places I could be and she could be during these precious days just following Jerry’s departure, and while I was talking with Chaya! And interestingly, much healing was still needed from a very dysfunctional childhood so somehow our driving through those mountains just at that time felt like that process may be in this story.
We journeyed on to Nashville to spend time with our daughter there, then worked our way back to Wilmington, DE, sadly to attend the funeral of my daughter-in-law’s 44 year old triplet brother, still an inexplicable tragedy. It’s quite a drive so we had planned to break the trip into two days. We had no designated stopping point so I just randomly in the middle of Virginia grasslands looked up at one point and said, “What about this place pointing to a sign for “Natural Bridge”. Neither of us had ever heard of it. And so we stopped there, explored this amazing structure that a century ago was actually listed as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World! Who knew?! We spent a delightful time there and the ranger even invited us to boondock overnight. This never happens!!
The next morning I checked in with Chaya and she was speechless. It turns out the Natural Bridge was Jerry’s favorite place, maybe in the world. 😊 It was the only place he had happy memories of his childhood. Coincidence?? And I had actually jogged there and spent some very special prayer time just that very morning having one of the best times in recent days with our Abba in this very special place. After a quick trip to the gift shop to pick out two bags of rocks for our granddaughters, we were on the road again.
Wilmington, DE has brought us more than anyone could have anticipated. . . The loss of this precious young man is unfathomable. And yet we’ve had such signs of his presence and well being. It turns out that he collected rocks and was going to give his rock collection to his nieces (our granddaughters), so the gifts from Natural Bridge were more than just a souvenir.
He had worked at the local casino when he was young. That casino is less than five miles from the funeral location and 10 minutes from the home where my son and family are staying so we have a perfect place to boondock. Even the casino time felt blessed, God using all things to His glory.
We are still in Wilmington for the family just learned earlier this seek the results of biopsies on my daughter-in-law’s mother now diagnosed with aggressive renal cancer. The Mitzvah Mobile has enabled Sid and I to remain closeby to help with the grandbabies allowing the family to see doctors, speak with health care workers, get labwork done, and start treatment tomorrow.
HaShem knew in 2008 when we bought our little home on wheels that these days would come. And yes, Sid and I are tired and juggling is my middle name. Yet we are following the Ruach and know we are right where we are supposed to be, shining brightly His Love to all we find on our journey.
This trip is not without my being human as part of the story. Yes, I woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking through logistics, and there are many to consider. Yet, when I started to pray and reminded myself of the beauty of following the Ruach, I felt such inner peace. For doing so is the key to not just surviving the challenges, but actually living richly through them. When our actions are guided by love of another, His shalom reigns.
As your choices become more difficult, as there seems to be a bump in every road, as doors keep closing, as people keep getting sick, even dying, I encourage you to close your eyes, breathe deeply, and deeply pray, pray again, and follow the Ruach. Clarity will abound as you are reminded that He’s got this. And as you move into that space, you too will experience that Natural Bridge between this world and Olam Ha-ba.