All is Good. All is Well.

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by Rev. K. Anthony Gogue  

 

Preparing for the Memorial Day Weekend gathering was quite an experience, after all, it was going to be one of the first public ADL events where people were able to reconnect in person since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We, as humanity, have all experienced a long, nearly two-year journey in fear, illness, lack, pain, restlessness, social isolation, and other things directly tied to many spiritual lessons. We were essentially forced to go within to heal our inner issues, and re-evaluate the way we live life.

With the severity of the illnesses caused by the coronavirus decreasing, we prepare to venture out into the world again to reconnect with the many people that we last seen long ago. It opens up opportunities to do some of the things we were prevented from doing during the experience, while allowing us to embrace the changes in life that came consequently.

We all know what it’s like to plan ahead for something. It often seems like a great plan in thought or on paper. As in many plans, the ministers that helped organize this event faced quite a few unexpected challenges along the way. Rev. Charlotte McGinnis, a primary organizer, had to practically drop everything to focus on a medical emergency in the family. Rev. Ed Carrasquillo, who was charged with preparing the ADL property, was rained on for an entire week as a severe weather system dampened efforts for the beautification process. I myself had to suddenly rearrange my commitments to the project due to a sudden change in my work schedule. There simply wasn’t enough time to do everything we had planned, and we didn’t have any more available hands to help.

The day of the gathering finally arrived. I was planning to get up early and bake several pies. I said a prayer to let them come out great. Although it was hectic, everything seemed to be going well until my unpredictable oven decided it was time to underbake things, causing my merengue to flop. The perfectionist part of me was disappointed, but I didn’t have any more ingredients to attempt to fix it, and I was out of time. At least the custard part of it tasted phenomenal.

After packing everything up, I left for the gathering. I arrived at the ADL property to find Rev. Diane Baker and Rev. Ed Carrasquillo preparing the food to grill. Rev. Charlotte McGinnis was finalizing the set up. Rev. Allen Reed helped out with gathering wood and keeping the firepit burning. Everything seemed like it was going well.

The guests began to arrive. As I helped in preparing the remainder of the food, I began feeling that we weren’t going to have enough main course items to feed everyone. Without knowing at the time, Rev. Diane was secretly thinking the same thing. More people kept showing up. Along with a small pan of pulled BBQ chicken and pork, we only had about eight hamburgers and eight veggie burgers. Diane and I thought to ourselves that we might have to make a trip to the store to buy more. We had plenty of desserts. If this was a bake sale, we had enough to be a success.

We began serving the meal. To my surprise, we had more than enough food from the grill without having to skimp on portions or running out of a particular item. A flash of insight came, reminding me of the Bible story of Jesus multiplying the small amounts of fish and bread to feed the many. It truly was a miracle. We had more than enough to give everyone a satisfying and filling meal. It was to the extent that we ended up even sending plates home with people.

Rev. Diane and I moved over to play some of the drums that Rev. Ed brought, and a drum circle began to form as others joined in. It was apparent that we weren’t the most experienced players. A visitor asked Rev. Ed about some playing tips, and he gladly obliged in giving a few pointers. It turned out to be an unexpected lesson, but moments later, we were soon playing together more harmoniously.

As the majority of guests began to leave, we started the cleanup process. Rev. Charlotte was beginning to itch from accidentally coming into contact with poison ivy. I shared my thoughts about the amount of food with Rev. Diane, and she instantly thought of the same Jesus story as well.

Reflecting back on the everything that occurred that day, some essential spiritual lessons came to mind. Everything turned out fine, despite the fears, illnesses, pains, setbacks, shortcomings, and things not going according to how we planned. Everyone was well fed. Everyone had a great time. As ministers, the efforts put forth to serve others was rewarding and beneficial to all.

In the end, all is good. All is well.

10 comments

Margaret(Peg) Gordon

Rev. Tony, Thank you for your Love of community and ministry. Thank you for the time you volunteer in the ADL office.  When I visited the office recently, I could feel the Love as soon as I walked through the door.  You and Allen were in the office with Diane. Ed was doing some maintenance. Charlotte and Ellen were bringing in the food to feed the crew. You were all working hard but I could feel the joy in each of your hearts. I Love that you and Diane communicate without needing to speak. I Love you Tony and all the joy you bring to everything you do

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K. Anthony Gogue

Thank you as well for all that you do for ADL, Peg! It was an absolute pleasure to finally meet you in person. You radiate such love, and it was so wonderful to hear some of the stories that you shared.

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Charlotte McGinnis

Tony, this article is beautifully stated!  You and Allen were such a big help in getting the property set up and your pies were AMAZING!!!  I am thinking that you should go into the pie business!  Ed deserves the gold star as he selflessly worked outside in the rain for days to make things beautiful for us all!  Want to give a shout out and thanks to Rev. Mark Salak for his help as well.....and of course, Diane, who is always willing to serve in any way she is needed!  It was fun and we are blessed!  Looking forward to the next gathering!  

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K. Anthony Gogue

Thank you for all that you do as well! I’m glad that you thanked Rev. Mark Salak. I remember meeting him at the Namaste Center when I first moved here. Ed did mention that someone was coming to help with the beautification, but I didn’t know it ended up being Mark until he came to the gathering. Thank you, Mark for helping us make this happen!

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Diane Baker Staff

Thank you for putting the heartfelt vibe of this ADL gathering into words, Tony.  To Mary, Donna, Lori, Ed, Jerri, Bonnie, Allen, Tony, Ceil, Sheena, Judy, Tracey, Roger, Char, Mark, Jennifer, Laura: love you guys.  You are my family!

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K. Anthony Gogue

You’re welcome, Diane! Thank you for encouraging me to write this spur of the moment. It reminded me of how much I love writing and actually miss doing it. It definitely took the pressure of my current work life away and grounded me in something peaceful.

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Karen L Turek

I am in such gratitude for everyone that came together to make this beautiful day happen! Thank you, Tony for sharing what can happen when love is the guiding light. What a blessing!

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K. Anthony Gogue

You’re welcome, Karen! It was a pleasure meeting you on the call recently. Thank you to you and all the other wonderful ministers who serve ADL and play an active role in leading us into the future!

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Miche Restaino

Thank you for sharing this day with those of us who could not attend. Many blessings to you, Tony!

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K. Anthony Gogue

You’re welcome, Miche! Love and blessings to you as well!

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