the way ahead

I wrote yesterday that Heather and I have been invited to move to Plow Creek farm this summer. And that's what we plan to do. But there isn't space available at the farm to start retreat work right away, and not much for us to do there in the winter. Which leads to the other big development...

Late last year, months before our initial visit to Plow Creek, I got the impression that we wouldn't be able to start work there right away (if at all), and that scared me at the time—we didn't have an alternative plan. A month before our visit, this feeling reached its lowest point. I was begging for a miracle (and at the same time remembering pilgrimage again). Then, two weeks later, several things suddenly came together in my mind. I remembered an article I had seen earlier, about a spiritual ministry to the poor in Boston, which had inspired similar ministries in other cities. And the Ignatian Spirituality Project also had retreat work starting in other cities. I thought visiting some of those ministries might help us gain experience and ideas and connections with people. If only there was a way for us to travel inexpensively...

Like walking. We had been eager to go walking together before, more than two years previously, but (with the encouragement of Heather's parents) decided to wait until after we were married. Now, I thought, we could go. We could visit those ministries, gain experience, make good connections, and spread the word about the work we were starting at Plow Creek. And walking, being poor and homeless ourselves (for a spiritual purpose), would fit so well with the message we were sharing, the work we were promoting. I was already very experienced in this kind of walking. And I even had experience walking with a partner, from the previous summer. It all seemed to fit so perfectly. It felt like a beautiful, perfect gift from God, and my heart leapt at it.

And when I brought it to Heather, she happily agreed (and had a few ideas of other places she'd like to visit). We both really liked the thought of being out on the road together.

So the tentative plan is to move to Plow Creek in April, to help with farm work, get married there in May, and stay through June. Then in July start walking. Probably from Boston going south, working our way down to Atlanta, then into Florida for the winter. Maybe go back to the farm in the spring.

Pretty exciting. We're so grateful to God for opening this way ahead for us. It's so much more than we could have even thought to ask, we're awed.