Trying to Get There
This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters…
– Isaiah 43:16 (NIV)
A few days before Christmas, I arrived to a Super 8 late in the evening—a super with no supper or restaurant. I walked on an unplowed sidewalk in search of options, only to find my way restricted by the one and only place where they had piled all the local snow. I detoured and plowed on for supper, only to be stopped by a 92-car freight train slowly restricting my path. I had to retrace my steps back to the motel with its cold coffee. It was 12 degrees.
Across the train tracks, after the train had passed, I spied a fancier motel, a Best Western. Supper beckoned. It might have a restaurant. I reached it without incident, unless you count the piles of snow that needed climbing.
There the entire Chamber of Commerce was having its holiday party, and the restaurant was closed. I got a name tag and blended right in. The chianti, Italian buffet and Christmas cookies were delicious.
I met some of the people I was supposed to meet with the next day. They said, “I didn’t know you belonged to the chamber.” I said, “I don’t.”
I know lots of people make ways when there are none under much more dire circumstances. I know Syrian refugees and Guatemalan border crossers. I wonder if the Chambers of the world would be fooled by somebody who didn’t look like me.
O God help us to fake it till we make it. And get us to the heavenly feast, even if it is only supper. When we arrive, may we meet one stranger after another who welcomes us, as though we truly belonged. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.