I got separated from my car the other day. In the midst of trying to get to her and drive away, I felt confused, frustrated and stupid. None of my knowledge or coping skills were helping. Here’s what happened: I drove into the OSF parking garage. It was packed. I drove higher and higher, with nary a space appearing. One layer down from the roof, I decided I didn’t want to sweat when I got back into my car, so I decided to start going down so I could park in the shade. That usually leads to a spot pretty quickly. Then I stopped paying attention so didn’t register the floor color at the elevator when I took it down to the main floor. I know better. My brain was on my day ahead. Visits finished, I went back to my car. Walking up the ramp I realized my car was not there. Puzzled, I clicked my remote and could hear my car respond. Weird. Followed the sound to the edge of the ramp and saw my car parked beneath my feet. Clicked the remote again. Yup. Walked down one ramp level. No car. What? Clicked the remote but didn’t trust what my ears were telling me on direction because I could not figure how to get to there. Was it really my car clicking? Back I went to the sighting spot. There was my car, one level down, at my feet, responding to the remote. Confused, I rolled my brain back a few hours and realized I could not remember the walk from my car to the elevator. Floor slop- ing up or down? Decided not to believe my eyes and went down a level. Nope. Back to Lookout Point. Briefly considered scaling the fence and dropping down beside my car but felt that would not go well. Time for help. At the front desk, the lady reached for the phone to call security, but an alert valet, having heard the conversation asked if I really could see my car and when I said yes, said “I’ll help you in a few minutes.” Bit tongue on elevator to keep from sharing why I know I’m not an idiot with him. He’s already worked there 3 years. Heard it all. Oy! We proceeded to Lookout Point. Clicked the remote to prove to us that I could see my car and he said “All you need to do is go up one floor.” Up to go down!??! I did not think he could be right, but provisionally trusted, tipped and dis- missed him. Sure enough, up got me to down and away I drove.
When I enter a church to help it towards our common goal: to call a competent pastor who is the right pastor and right fit to be a guide for several years, we have some confidence about getting there. You told me the first draft of your story in the interviews. The reality of partnering in ministry leads to constant revisions of the story while sustaining the ongoing life of the congregation. It re- veals where work is needed. My research intensifies while I work with key leaders to push to the place of traction. UPC being so competent and layers deep in talent, we expected to find traction sooner. As soon as the Session was able to name our essential challenge on Tuesday, it was clear we’ve hit the traction point. Horray! We are going to have so much fun now, making new discoveries as we excavate further. There is nothing too minor in fact or thought at this phase. Just as the valet could offer invaluable aid from Lookout Point, we now need everyone’s participation in sharing even if we might believe it’s irrelevant. I did tell the valet on the elevator the color of the number I saw on the wall opposite my car the third time I went to Lookout Point. You already hold all the clues we need to release the gifts of the Spirit already within you. Let me guide you on the way. Talk to me. Up to go down?? Absolutely. God is with us.
Blessings, Rev. Laura