Monday morning, while I was drinking my first cup of tea, tears filled my eyes. I was appreciating a picture I had taken the night before. I had texted the picture to one of my friends, along with the message, “Grateful I found the courage to live authentically, and grateful to have found you, on the same journey.” And here’s the thing. As I sat drinking my tea, I realized I could have sent that picture and those words to any one of a number of friends, because those are the kinds of friends I have.
It had been a busy weekend. Saturday evening I preached at Left Hand Church. Sunday morning I preached three times at Denver Community Church. I was shuttled between DCC’s two locations, and twice had to walk through the middle of the Denver Pride parade to get to my ride waiting on the other side. Two full church buildings and a wonderful parade, traversed twice, all on Father’s Day morning.
After church I had lunch with Rachael McClair, one of my favorite pastors, then spent the afternoon with Cathy. We talked about our wonderful life together, raising our three amazing children. Earlier in the day, I had heard from all three, my little Father’s Day gift. I returned home shortly before sunset, tired but grateful. That’s when I took the picture of the sunset.
I am blessed to have a former wife who remains my close friend, and three children I greatly admire who have chosen to remain by my side. I am blessed to have dear friends who are there for me all day, every day, having joined me on the journey of authenticity.
Five years ago I thought I would never preach again. Evangelical churches would not let me through their doors, and mainline Protestant churches were afraid of my evangelical background. I was without a spiritual country, with only a handful of friends. Today, I have an abundance of friends, and I get to preach from sea to shining sea. This land is my land, and I do not take it for granted.
Every close friend who has joined me on this journey has paid a price, and we remain diligent in defense of our freedom. There are many who would do everything in their power to take it away. Unfortunately, I hear from them on a regular basis. But in the presence of the amazing love with which I am surrounded, their attacks are nothing more than sounding brass and clanging symbols.
I hold on to these good days, for as sure as I enjoyed last night’s sunset, I will come upon another day in which I can barely put one foot in front of the other. Finding balance is never easy. Long trail runs through the sage, juniper and piñon pine keep me grounded. On days I need a distraction, a difficult mountain biking trail does the trick.
But mostly, I am grounded by my fellow travelers. I need my companions. Life is like the fourth and fifth stanza’s of the William Butler Yeats poem, Vacillation. At the end of the fourth stanza he writes, “My body of a sudden blazed, and 20 minutes more or less it seemed, so great my happiness, that I was blessed and could bless.” Yesterday and today were those kinds of days. But in the very next stanza, Yeats writes, “And not a day but something is recalled, my conscience or my vanity appalled.” Yeah, I have plenty of those days too.
This is a wild ride, and should not be undertaken without companions who know the boulders and branches, mountains and valleys. You need those who have gone before, and others coming behind. I am grateful for the perfect sunset, and the friend I wrote, and the other friends I could have written, and my perfect cup of tea. All of it, holy.
I’m thinking before he died, Moses finally figured out all the ground was holy, every last inch of it. This is a sacred and holy journey, undertaken for the greater good. I am blessed to have so many fellow travelers who also understand the holiness of every last inch of the ground on which we walk.