Because of Traffic, I Found a New Song…

This year, one of the highlights was our family trip to California. My husband, Gary, and I had not been there since April 2008 – That is a long while, especially when you have beloved family and friends there. My Father-in-law, who turned 86 on October 18, had never been to California and only took his very first flight ever, in April of 2013. So, imagine what an impact this trip was going to have on all of us, seeing loved ones, going to Palm Springs (thanks to my sister Ruth and her husband Donald for the beautiful accommodations at their stay-vacation ownership), celebrating my 50th birthday, preaching at the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church in Pasadena, and driving to San Diego, then to Monterey/Carmel area, which is one of my very favourite places in California.

The weather was beautiful and warm. We enjoyed the swimming pool in Palm Springs and walked around with just a wind breaker in Carmel. What a difference between Canada and South-West U.S.A.

I think the entire trip can turn into a book. We saw friends that we had not seen for over thirty years, and had an amazing surprise dinner in Palm Spring on the very first day of our arrival, with the incomparable Sylvia Boyd, who was the president of Tupperware Canada when I became a manager, ages ago (feels as if that was another life). What a gift it was to be with her and her husband Jon and break bread together after so many years…

Now, I really want to share with you this little incident, which is proper for the Advent Season.

On Sunday, November 26, after visiting the beautiful Carmel Mission Basilica, where the music that was heard from the church service, while walking on the grounds of this historical place, moved me beyond words, and tears rolled down. In a way, I wished that I was able to visit other missions for some reason. Did you know that there are 21 Spanish Missions built in California between 1769 and 1833?

After our visit, we left Carmel-by-the-Sea and headed out to St. Luis Obispo for our last night in California.  There was traffic… there is always traffic in California, especially the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

So, at one point, I just could not handle it and I said: “Gary, I am getting off here honey, as I see there is a parallel road next to the freeway, I am sure the GPS will recalculate and get us back on track”.

So, I got off the freeway, without waiting for a response and a few miles later, we were in front of San Miguel Mission, in San Miguel, California. I was so thrilled, as if I had found a gem.

We stopped, walked around, and stretched our legs.  I found murky water in a pond that was adorned by waterlilies of beauty and grace. Because of time limitations, we wanted to get back in the car and continue to drive, as  we needed to get to our destination in plenty of time to rest, because the journey home was going to be almost two days.

We got back in the car and started to drive and not even a few yards away I saw a little bird sitting on a 200 plus year old pillar and just looking up to the clouds that are hiding the sun…

Here is the picture… my focus here was the clouds and the sun that was coming through the opening… I thought to myself, Is this Advent? God’s Light breaking to the world through a very small, insignificant opening? A hopeless, infant – but yet this infant is – Emmanuel, God with us…

The next thing I saw was next to that pillar was an old bell tower that is still standing and the bell is still used when it is time for Mass… The bell calls people to wake up from their slumber and join the chorus who sing of the Eternal Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love… Could the Bell also be a representative of Advent? The Bell calling and guiding all to reorient ourselves with the One who calls us.

Time is funny, it is NOT our own. We pretend that we can manage everything efficiently and plan everything accordingly – but we all know… That sometimes like that bird we just need to sit and wait… But not aimlessly… Waiting with Hope, with Peace, with Joy, and with Love…

Lastly, I gathered a little courage, and I got closer to the bird, hoping not to disturb the beautiful creature. I was successful… The bird did not fly away but continued to sing… The Bird had a song…

Amid the ruins found all around and the clouds covering the sun, this bird had a song!

Beloved, the traffics of life can distract our journey and get us off track, however there is beauty found everywhere, if we only seek to reorient ourselves with the One who Loves us, Calls us and guides us.

I pray that the Season of Advent has helped you hear the tender song of the bird or the carillon of the bell, to reorient yourself to the Divinity filled with Humanity who comes to us in flesh and blood and calls us to a life that is Hope-Filled, Peace-Led, Joy-Lived and Love-shared with all. Amen.




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