12 March 2019 - New Ellenton, South Carolina
But Ruth said, “Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; Where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Before this walk across the United States began, I had heard that my nephew, Kyle Taylor, wanted to join me for the beginning of it. I heard something about him walking with me for the first day or two, and then returning to his work at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina, where Capt. Taylor oversees the drill sergeants who train many of the Army’s newest recruits. Before our departure from Folly Beach, SC, Kyle indicated that he had some leave, and could walk a few days with me. Then, at the end of the second or third day of walking, he responded that he could walk with me the entire first week, as I was making a side trip (by car) to Columbia on March 10. As we approached Columbia and I inquired further, he said, “This is fun! I have two weeks of vacation and I’d like to walk with you across South Carolina. It would be nice to say I did that!”
So… Kyle is still with me for another day or two, as we are now approaching Augusta, Georgia!
And I feel like Naomi (see the quote above), although I’m an uncle, not a mother-in-law. Kyle is my Ruth, it seems. Kyle is going with me wherever I go, lodging with me wherever I lodge, going to church with me when I go to church, helping me look at the route each day, eating when I eat, etc.
Kyle’s presence has been hugely helpful as I get into the rhythm of this walk. Not only that, it has been nice to have him nearby when dogs charged us out of seemingly nowhere. Though he is now 28, there is still the Kyle I knew when he was in middle school. He makes motions for the truck drivers to honk their horns and celebrates when then do. Near the end of our walk today, he found a pair of crutches by the side of the road, and - as I lagged behind - he held them up in the air, just as I was thinking about how much my feet hurt. It was hilarious! We witnessed a bald eagle together on our fourth morning of the walk, and he has been able to be a witness with me to all of the generous acts that people have offered on our behalf. These include giving us lodging, feeding us, giving us rides to where we stopped walking the day before, bringing us back from a day’s walk, sharing stories from their lives, making a donation to 6 Million Steps for Kids, or buying us a meal.
One of my many prayers I began praying on January 1 was that, when the walk began, I would love it, Lord, if 90% of the nights on the road I could sleep in a bed. I have camping gear, and I will use it when I need to, but I know that I don’t sleep much when I’m on the ground. Well - praise be to God! - so far Kyle and I have been in a home or a rectory or an Econolodge (one night, provided by a Baptist Church in St. George, SC) every… single… night. I just found out that tomorrow night we will be staying with the Episcopal Sisters of the Order of Saint Helena in North Augusta, South Carolina!
Grace upon grace…. God’s grace abounds! And Kyle’s presence has been a huge part of God’s grace, these first 10 days of my walk across America.
What about you? How are you experiencing Gods’ grace these days?