To be blessed and honored among friends.

As I recall, the last conversation at the table as we looked around at one another, was: how had we all met? With smiles and laughter, and all knowing the obvious contexts, we shared deeper details our stories. Jan, a fellow parishioner there, Will, a constituent I met knocking on his door (and was welcomed in for an hour long discussion,) and his wife here, a pair of my most dedicated supporters, Rosemary and Julie – one on each side of me and her husband too – seven people together at a table in Jackson. Enough to solve any problem our City has, or at least hopefully enough to remember who first introduced me to another.

A week or two ago shortly after I posted the news that I would be leaving, Gina reached out to me insisting our scheduled lunch for ‘sometime soon’ would be added to my list of things to do while still in town, and added there were a number of people that wanted to see me again also. With a few messages we were able to arrange a time for lunch today. I remember feeling both awed and humbled to be invited as a guest for lunch in that way.

Retelling some stories, giving ideas for future ones, and sharing the successes that are already being enjoyed – I can’t think of a more pleasant outing. One last time for us to all try to absorb as much of each other as we could. After lunch, cards were given and a gift bag came out. The excitement of wrapped gift is unique for me – curiosity is hard for me to bestill. The card from the bag read, I was warned of sharp edges (perhaps, overcautiously) while reaching in, and pulled out a tissue wrapped object, which with just a bit of undoing and a thank you to the gift giver, revealed itself to be the beautiful cross you see pictured above.

Will told us the story of finding it and hoping it was sufficient; and I could, and can still, barely contain my joy with it. Here in my home, I have a cross in every room and I look to them often. I hadn’t yet even considered which of them I might take off the wall to come with me. Had Will not thought of this gift, I might well gone off on my adventure completely unarmed. More than that, this is a handmade cross; stones set in epoxy, absolutely and completely unique. And these stones – all collected from the beaches of our Great Lakes here in Michigan. I’m not one to always remember book and verse, though I remember something about us all being stones in the Church – and of course, Christ as the cornerstone- and another one about our names being written on a stone.

In any case – I look at the stones that build up this cross; and I imagine all the unique individuals that have worked together and built up to be a blessing for me in so many ways. As I passed the cross around so everyone could see, I mentioned that I usually would get a cross or Crucifix blessed by my local priest, however knowing that any person may give a blessing, I asked if they were so willing, to bless it as it went around – and they did. Now I have my travelling cross, blessed with the breaking bread of a meal and the prayers of my friends in Michigan, while seated at their table as an honored guest. I wonder how much more their blessings could be revealed to me.

With this cross, I shall have much time to ponder.

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