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fullsizeoutput_2ca0A quick glance at my watch told me that I was early for my appointment. Now was a good time for a stretch along with a brief walk. So, I climbed out of my car and scanned the area for an interesting destination.

It must be normal to look up and away when exploring for a direction. Back forth my head bobbed, gathering my bearing to make a choice. Time to kill was the objective. Nothing earth-shattering here.

Maybe it was random. Possibly it is a habit that I do not usually notice. But, with no real direction and plenty of time to fill in my objective, I happened to look down. It was time for a pause in my searching.

There, in the grass, tiny flowers of different colors spread throughout a small meadow. It was attractive. When I drove up in the rental car I did not notice the display. Stepping out of the car and looking for a way to make my time brief spare time enjoyable this scene did not register.

fullsizeoutput_2d3cMaybe it was the wind. A small breeze sensed my random mood. It whispered that I should look down.

Rustling grass leaves were loud enough for lingering gaze. Maybe I have a soft spot in my soul for the overlooked, the small guy doing his best, or a collection of insignificant memories that are special for reminiscing.

See in the grass, there are hundreds of blooms. Each flower adds their splash of color in the Spring time outdoor extravaganza. Most who pass this way overlook the these little ones. I was almost one of them. Not this time.

Colors, textures, plentiful stages of display are all peeking out for my appreciative eyes to see. In this one spot my entire “spare time” was spent. The Master’s touch of this miniature floral presentation was solitarily mine for a marvelous few moments. It was nice, very nice.

photo by brucefong photography

There are thousands of people at this year’s Gospel Coalition Conference. It’s in Chicago. Running into old acquaintances has been a surprise blessing.

The concourses here at the Hyatt McCormick Center are huge. Once a plenary session was over I rarely could choose a destination. Instead once I stepped into the concourse, the human traffic swept me along. The best that I could hope for was a friendly eddy to swirl out of the current and catch my breath.

Four times I heard my name. Each time it was fun to be connected with an old friend in the masses of strange faces. Always there was a smile!

Brian and I looked at each other with an identical smile. Our smiles erupted and we laughed. “Bruce!” “Brian!”

We happened to be heading in the same direction. Together we flowed with the crowd of people. In that brief time we caught up.

Just as I handed him my business card with my latest information, the stream of people parted. He was swept right and I was diverted left. We waved.

After the next session the current of humanity moved me down a wide concourse and swept me into an eddy while the main movement curved right. Just at that moment of rest, Crawford emerged from a double door entrance. “Bruce!” “Crawford!”

For a few moments we caught up on family, ministry, hopes and dreams. The best part is that he and his bride are coming to San Francisco this year. We hope to enjoy our fellowship even more deeply.

I smiled at that intersections of life. These were unplanned times of fellowship. Each one was a gift from God. He is full of wonderful surprises.

These surprises were not yet complete. After a plenary sessions, I stood up and wove my way through the milling crowd of strangers. Then, a distantly familiar voice called, “Bruce!”

I turned to an unfamiliar face. “It’s me, Dempster!” “Whoa! So good to see you. It’s been so long, years.”

He was a student long ago. Now, he is busily serving faithfully in a Michigan church. With enthusiasm he told of his journey.

I listened with rapt attention. He had the glow of a man thrilled with the privilege of ministry. We not only caught up with each other but with a mutual friend from years gone by. Fellowship, it’s a treat both planned and spontaneous.

photo credit: google image

San Francisco is an amazing city, a fabulous metropolitan area, an adventuresome place to explore.  Don’t bother making an exhaustive list or you’ll never get out to see it all.  Instead, keep a short list of collected ideas that could fill your day-off.

But, be careful.  On any given day-off with our list in hand we get so excited about exploring, experieincing and enjoying that we overlook a necessity of great importance.  This kind of oversight can add to the odessey of the day.

Yup, you have to remember where you parked your car.

When we set our GPS to lead us to our priority destination, we are excited when we weave through the streets of San Francisco and hear our “Karen” announce, “You have arrived.”  Then, it is a scramble to find a parking space.  It has not been unusual for us to roam the area in ever widening circles looking for a space.

When a space appears, we grab it. Sometimes we stop traffic to push our way into a designated curb spot.  San Franciscans all know about this exercise and demonstrate unusual patience for others who are in the process of parking.

There is a lilt in our step after we feed the meter and walk toward our objective.  But, that satisfaction quickly disappears when we replace it with our enthusiasm for the reason we are there.  So we laugh with gusto when we shop, eat or sightsee.

When our first stop is completed and it is time to move on to our next destination, we are startled.  Yvonne asks, “Don’t we go that way?”  My response is non-verbal but confidently definitive, “Hmmm…humph…er…uh…um”

Then my homing pigeon navigation instincts kick in, “No, I think that we go this way.”  My uncertainty is enough to make the rotation of the earth to hesitate.  “Is that our car over there?  Where did we park that thing?”

So the two of us wander around aimlessly trying to retrace out steps.  Neither of us remembered to bring the bread crumbs to leave trail on the sidewalk.  My mind drifts toward the parable of the lost coin.  I reason, “If God could help someone find a lost coin, surely He could help us … there it is!  See dear?  Just trust me and I will never lead you astray.  Are you OK? It sounds like your gagging.”

photo credit: google image

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