So it was last evening when we received an invitation to a surprise birthday party for Deborah Murray. Her partner, Craig had invited several of her friends and asked us to keep Deborah busy until the guests had accumulated, and so we did as she walked with us all day.
As the evening unfolded, Craig and their son Clifton, a member of the Tenors, joined in singing "The Dance," made famous by Garth Brooks. The key message of the song lies in the line "I could have missed the pain, but I'd have had to miss the dance."
As I reflected on the message, I thought it a metaphor for the SJ; we could have avoided the agony of sore feet and aching muscles but in so doing we would have missed the joy of the experience of meeting so many wonderful folks?
And so we danced. All day long today, we danced.
Chief George of the Kwakiutl First Nation had told us yesterday that he had prayed for good weather. We woke this morning to a glorious day and the rain held off for the entire day--a perfect day for walking.
Rev Alastair Hunting of St Columba in Pt Hardy, joined us early in the day, Deborah and Clifton later and Rev Lincoln McKoewn at the turnoff to Fort Rupert, where we were also met by Chief Hunt's family for the walk into the home of the Kwakiutl.
At the medical centre in town, we were met by Chief Hunt and his wife, Mary, and a number of elders and band members for a very nice lunch.
As we ate, Chief Calvin Hunt drummed and sang a Kwakiutl song, written for the sacred canoe journey of his people, which seemed particularly appropriate to the SJ. Chief Hunt was joined in singing by John Jacobson, a master carver. Responding to a request from those gathered, Clifton Murray sang Hallelujah and we danced.
The joining of voices from the chief and a very talented descendant of the settler community, and the reaction to both, reinforced the objective of the SJ and illustrating what can be done when relationships are transformed and strengthened. What a joyful result, and we danced some more.
After lunch, conversation and emotional goodbyes, the walking team, now down to three, set off back to the highway and tomorrow's starting point. We asked Chief George to continue to pray for us and left knowing that he would do so.
The day of the dance, a day where we once again thanked God for the many blessings bestowed on the SJ. Blessings to all God's people.