Thoughts On A Snowy Spring Morning April 17, 2016
Last week members of our church surprised me with a gift: a framed art photograph of the Blue Swallow Motel in my hometown of Tucumcari, New Mexico. The piece was, coincidentally, hanging at the Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts on the night of our St. Paddy’s party and I had every intention of going back to get it when the show ended but somebody else had other plans…and I am so happy they did.
You see, this sweet little inn is just a few blocks from the house I was born and raised in!
The Blue Swallow is one of only a few remaining original “tourist courts” on Route 66, America’s “mother road,” and in 2006 Smithsonian magazine named it “the last, best, and friendliest of the old-time motels.”
All who have experienced the place will agree, the “spirit” of this landmark comes from the love poured into it by a precious woman, Lillian Redman, who was given the motel as an engagement gift by her soon-to-be husband, Floyd, in 1958. She served as its proprietor for 40 years. I remember this icon of the Southwest well because my mother was her hairdresser. As a little kid I often hung out in the beauty shop just to hear the ladies’ chatter and Mrs. Redman did not disappoint.
She loved her work and she loved her customers. She didn’t just check them into their rooms each night….she drew them into her home and her life. She sought out their stories and vicariously re-lived them as they poured forth. Like Tennyson, she understood that she “was a part of all that I have met,” and that they were a part of her. I, too, became a part of those travelers and their journeys as Mrs. Redman shared them with the women getting their weekly“do’s” and am sure this is a prominent source of the wanderlust I celebrate to this day.
Lillian had an awareness of the age-old admonition to “welcome the stranger.” This idea is woven throughout our entire Bible and it is a major hallmark of Judaism and Christianity both. While Mary and Joseph were not given a room at that long-heralded Inn at Bethlehem, neither were they turned away. They were given the “best available” and really, the story is richer because Jesus was born in a stable rather than the Presidential Suite, isn’t it?
As we sit in our warm homes this blustery snow day, I pray that we all reflect on those who are not in such comfortable surrounds.
I pray that we all offer gratitude to our God who has blessed us and blessed us and that we take a little time to consider those blessings.
I pray that we commit ourselves to being watchful for those strangers who we can serve in ways that honor our God.
I pray that we make time in our lives to bring the stories of others’ journeys into our own and continue weaving the tapestry of life shared in community.
I pray for those who travel, those who roam, those who long for home.
I pray that sweet memories dance between your head and heart and that you know joy as you bring them to the light of this beautiful Colorado day.
I pray for your journey, that you fully understand and embrace the truth that you never travel alone.
And I leave you with the blessing that Mrs. Redman gave to each and every one of her new friends when they checked into that sweet little Blue Swallow Motel.
In ancient times, there was a prayer for “The Stranger Within our Gates.” Because this motel is a human institution to serve people, and not solely a money-making organization, we hope that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof.
May this room and motel be your “second” home.
May those you love be near you in thoughts and dreams. Even though we may not get to know you, we hope that you will be as comfortable and happy as if you were in your own house.
May the business that brought you this way prosper.
May every call you make and every message you receive add to your joy. When you leave, may your journey be safe.
We are all travelers. From “birth till death,” we travel between the eternities.
May these days be pleasant for you, profitable for society, helpful for those you meet, and a joy to those you know and love best.
Sincerely yours, Lillian Redman
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You can listen to 2016 Sunday messages below...
Palm Sunday Cantata was not recorded. Sorry!
Outdoor Service on June 26, could not be recorded.
August 28 service not recorded - outdoor service
August 21 service recording failed. Sorry!
Apologies- The April 10th sermon was inadvertently not recorded. The April 17th Snow Day email message is found below January 3rd.
The December 11th Service was not recorded due to area power outage.