As I headed to “SoulFest” this past week, I took a wrong turn and wound up on 93 south headed in the opposite direction. Only a few miles down the highway I saw the flashing blue lights as I was being pulled over. Busted! The officer asked me if I knew why I was being pulled over and I answered that I might have been going a little too fast. He smiled and told me that the aircraft above with radar had clocked me at 85 in that 65 MPH zone. Ooops!! I concurred as I admitted that I was speeding, and I explained that I was trying to find my way to “SoulFest” and that I had taken a wrong turn and was frustrated trying to read the directions on my navigator. I added that I realized that was no excuse! The officer asked for my license and registration as he proceeded to give me directions to get me turned around and headed in the correct direction. He smiled and told me that he had just attended “SoulFest”the night before. ( SoulFest is a Christian based four-day long event which attracts attendees from many distant places. People come to listen to a variety of Christian bands and artists and are able to also participate in workshops and seminars alike).
Anyway, off he went, back to his cruiser, to verify my information as I sat nervously awaiting his decision. When he returned he said “this deserves a $340 fine, however since I myself was just at “SoulFest” last night, I am going to just give you a warning”. I thanked him and handed him a 4 x 6 promotional card for my blog and my book and told him perhaps he may encounter someone sometime who might be needing either or both. I minimally explained about Kenzie’s accident and of how good God has been to me through HIs Godwinks and that I considered it a Godwink that he (the officer), was the one that pulled me over. He took the card from me as he said goodbye. I got to thinking about his giving me a warning instead of a ticket and consider it was an “act of love”, God’s grace granted to me through him.
So I was invited to “SoulFest” this week by my friend who works for an organization called Trading Hope. My friend Jeanne asked if I could come help her sell the clothing and jewelry created by women of Africa and Haiiti for this ministry. She offered to allow me to share Makenzie’s story and to sell my book “Wish You a Goode Journey”, Jeanne’s “act of love” toward me. I prayed about it as I drove there, knowing full well God already knew who He would place in my path. I received blessings as I engaged with so many people that came to our booth. There are many hurting people in this world, which may or may not be apparent by appearances. As I shared our story, many people got real with me and exposed their thoughts and feelings as they shared their personal stories. I met a very nice man who was there with his daughter. He told me that he felt drawn to write a book, to tell his story of loss. He told me that he had lost his 17 year old son as a result of a hunting accident, and he also shared about the immense guilt that he had experienced and the daily visions in his head that would continue to replay. He explained that he would not have been able to go on had it not been for the grace of God releasing him from this burden of personal guilt. I understood what he meant. As Kenzie’s mom I have replayed those moments in my head and asked myself what I should have or could have done differently to change the outcome. The man then asked me if I had seen the wooden cross situated up at the main stage where the bands were playing. I had not. He explained that during the four days of Soulfest, people go up to the cross and pray and they take a nail and a hammer and pound it into the cross as they give their “stuff” over to Christ for His intercession. The man with his daughter purchased my book and invited me to visit the cross, which I did later on in the afternoon.
It seemed symbolic and appropriate for me to place “Wish You a Goode Journey” at the cross as I reconcile that losing Kenzie was not due to anything that she nor I did. It was an accident. It has taken a very long time for me to dismiss my feelings of self appointed guilt; the notion that somehow I was responsible for her accident. By surrendering my book at the cross, I am surrendering it to His will and His purpose and I can therefore claim His grace, His “Act of Love“. As Christians we find redemption at the cross. After pain, suffering and death to ourselves, we can find hope and new life in Christ. We can truly love with our lives.
I received a picture text from my new friend later that evening as he had placed beautiful memorial flowers on the cross to honor the lives of our loved ones. How amazing.
I experienced many things during my brief visit to Soulfest, and just as I was leaving, there was a woman at the exit of the grounds sharing her gift. In front of a small crowd, she created a beautiful chalk drawing. I asked her if she had a favorite scripture or verse that inspired her artwork. She did not say so, but at the very end provided the title of the piece: “Act of Love“.