Jun 20, 2008

Mountains in the Distance

When this journey began it started in a desert that I couldn't see. Then I saw the desert I was sitting in and I didn't like it. I've never liked the desert. When my Mom planted Yucca and broom grass in the rock garden in the front yard of our Kansas home, convincing the neighbors that we didn't fit, I started hating the desert. Although I loved donning my leather moccasins that we bought in New Mexico and walking through the rocks and cactus, pretending I was an Indian, which is what you were in 1969, not a Native American, I was still a little embarrassed that our yard looked like Arizona and not Kansas. Pretty silly, really, considering I have been embarrassed to be from Kansas until just recently, so either way I lost. The desert is hot, dusty (i hate dust), rocky and so unkempt. I mean, clean it up once in a while, huh! Put those boulders in some kind of order for beauty's sake!

When I mean "I saw" I really did. One of my gifts, I guess you can call it, is the ability to see stuff that I can't see with my eyeballs. Call it an over-active imagination, but proven throughout my many years of following Christ, what I see seems to be what He's doing. So I saw myself in this desert, sitting near a saguaro cactus and a clump of untidy boulders, watching the sun bake the rocks and stick-like plants. Yucc-a.

Until one of the last Sundays I attended worship in the church we joined 6 years prior. It was that Sunday, when the din of the music accompanied by chatting pew sitters and wandering late-comers, truly pushed me over the edge and all I could think about was running. Running anywhere to find a quiet, lonely place where the hot wind was in my ears and I could feel the peace of sitting and watching the sun rest on the land.

Again, slow learner/late bloomer...Oh! That's the desert. I love the desert. I have to go to the desert. I want to go to the desert. If I don't get out of church and go to the desert I'm going to die.

So for months, I'd check in with God about where we were, because He eventually showed up to sit by my rocks with me, and He'd show me a non-eyeball picture of what was up. I sat by those boulders for months, maybe a year. I watched eagles soaring on the hot wind, lizards lounging on hot rocks, shadows move across the landscape. I noticed tiny, delicate flowers push their way up through the sand and dirt to face the blazing sun and thrive in it's heat. I began to understand words like peace, still, rest. I began to stop and look and wonder at the beauty of this place that I had dismissed for so long as ugly, dry and barren.

Recently, I checked in again. So, Guys (Father, Son, HS), where am I now? I am standing, no longer sitting by the boulders I had come to know and love, and facing mountains. They're still at a distance and I'm still in the desert, but no longer is just desert before my eyes. I see mountains. Green, gray, tall mountains with shadows crossing their ridges and peaks. I know we're headed there and part of me is scared. I've had to climb mountains before and it was hard and horrible. Part of me is excited about the new thing ahead of me and that Jesus and I are going to do this thing together. And part of me is very sad. Sad to leave this place I've grown to love so dearly because I took a journey here with Jesus for a long time now, even though I never moved an inch, and this place is very precious to me.

Whatever the mountains hold for me, however the climb will look, I know that Jesus is right there with me and the aloneness that I've felt all my life disappeared in the desert and I'll need to remember that when the climb gets hard.

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