This morning I had the exquisite treat of attending the Atlanta Hospitality Thirteenth Annual Prayer Breakfast with my friend, Beth. I have been her guest for these breakfasts for several years, and I always look forward to them. I have not been able to attend all of them, but Beth always includes me in her guest list, and if at all possible, I go. If my counting is correct, I think this one was my sixth. Each one has offered me something of value to take home with me to ponder, as well as something inspirational to strengthen me in my faith journey.
This morning’s program was no exception. In fact, it surpassed all of my expectations. I went in thinking, “How can this one be better than last year? Or the year before?” To be fair, I am not grading them. Each one has been the best. Each one has touched my heart. Each one has tugged at my soul. Each one has given me a special oomph I’ve needed at that particular time and place in my life.
I especially identified with Ken Mansfield’s presentation, or shall I be so bold as to say, testimony. Maybe it was The Beatles connection that caught my attention, as he shared with us about his business relationship with my all-time favorite rock and roll group when he was with Apple Records back in the day. That, at least, perked up my ears to listen more attentively. What struck me most, however, were his words as he described his faith journey. While I never experienced the prestige and the wealth that he had in the height of his career, there was something about his path that felt somehow like mine. I connected with him on a spiritual level and knew that God was talking to me through him.
Then, it was over. Beth and I drove back to her house where I picked my own car up to continue back home. Mulling over some of what I had heard this morning, my eyes were teary, and I had to keep brushing them with my hands in order to see where I was driving. My heart was full to overflowing with thoughts of God and God’s love, and I was thankful for this morning and the opportunity to reconnect and be re-filled.
When I stopped for a traffic light along my way, still thinking about what Ken had said in his talk, my attention focused on the vehicle in front of me. It was Jeep-like – I really can’t tell you what make or model it was. The only thing that I saw was the spare tire cover on its tailgate, which read, “Not All Who Wander Are Lost.”
Pow! It was a message meant for me. I have been a wanderer all of my life. I am a Christian, and have professed the Christian faith for as long as I can remember, but my life has been that of a wanderer, both physically and spiritually. I have questioned God, my faith, why things have happened to me the way they have in my life, and a myriad of other things that I just haven’t been able to understand. I have wandered in the desert of doubt, and have nearly drowned in the sea of fear
Yes, I, like Ken Mansfield, am a wanderer. Our life paths have taken us to the mountain top and to the dark valleys below. We both have been in the place where all we had in our possession were a few boxes of personal belongings, holding them and wondering what the next day would bring. But the sign, “Not All Who Wander are Lost” brought comfort to my heart, and I’m sure it would to him if he had seen it, too.
I think God kind of likes us wanderers. We are the ones who aren’t satisfied and content to sit in the same place our entire lives, neither geographically nor spiritually. We are the questioners, the seekers, the ones who ask a million questions and who are always eager to learn.
I may be a wanderer, but through the grace of God, He keeps His light on my path. God has a firm grip on my hand, to lead me and guide me, to pull me out of mud puddles as well as deep waters, and to jerk me up by the nape of my neck when I get myself into a really bad place. Ken’s talk this morning reminded me once again that God loves me wherever I may wander, and that I am a child of God. There is nowhere I can go that God isn’t there with me.
I may be a wanderer, but I am not lost.