Tarry On the Boulders

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Sometimes in May, a little warm snap will grip the mountains of the Colorado high country. In their excitement they shed their snow like white mink coats – all at once and fast. Piles and piles come sliding down the canyon, melting into the valleys. There, the water collides with itself, in such a hasty and reckless tumult, it rearranges the boulders all down the river.

To the rare listener, it sounds like muffled bone crushing, powerful and unseen, like centuries of things starting and stopping. The boulders move because they have to, forced by the will of the water.

Change is the river’s only constant.

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But as spring turns to summer, the big water slows and slips quietly into New Mexico, unnoticed by anyone but a few fishermen tying their flies. Finally the boulders rest, their mottled grey backs rise steadily as the water drifts south.

Queen Anne’s Lace loves the river too, so she hangs around all summer with the Prince Gentians, the last of all wildflowers. Her slender green arms reach over the river; lacy, white fingers graze the last of the snow pack as it slips by.

Photo Credit: Theophilos Papadopoulos

Photo Credit: Theophilos Papadopoulos

This is a thing worth seeing, but I won’t unless I go and tarry on the boulders. If I will sit and wait, the magic will struggle up through the piles of ordinary, and I will see what was buried all along.

Ordinary is an illusion everywhere.

It was on this very river, on some long departed boulder, that I first understood Romans 1:20. I memorized it with my feet in the water.

For ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature and attributes, that is, his eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (his handiwork). So men are without excuse, altogether without any defense or justification. Romans 1:20 AMP

This is no joke. These mountains, this boulder, this ache in my soul are the signature of The Ancient of Days. They are the voice of the Infinite Omniscient saying:

You hear me best in stillness and light, but I am everywhere. You can’t grab the water or capture its sparkles in a jar. There is only now. I am here, and I am willing to overwhelm you.

This is the pain of an unseen God. The yearning is real, but the trust is hard.

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So we seek transcendence everywhere else. We chase it, try to buy it, swallow it, fall in love with it, convince ourselves we’ve got it and give it proud names. But the mountains know things we’ve forgotten, or maybe we never knew.

God is alive and we are eternally without excuse.

That is the hope and heartbreak of Romans 1:20. We can glimpse God’s eternal power and divinity, in a thousand year old river whose stones will cry out if we don’t.

But only for a second.

The hope is: What we see now, in glimmers and through aperture of memory, we will someday see in full. The mountains and rivers promise.May 2009 115

So go outside tonight. Watch the Perseid meteor shower. Sit still and let the creation remind you of things you already know, and perhaps let it introduce you to the one who knows you.


This Ongoing Texile

I picked up The Bible a few years ago and began reading it because I wanted to be someone better than I was, and I couldn’t figure out how.

I wanted to be someone like evangelist, author and human trafficking activist Christine Caine; a woman who knows her role in the Kingdom of God and is relentlessly pursuing it.

But here I am two and a half years later, I’ve read the whole bible, twice, and wrote a book about the sea changes it inflicted on my soul, my brain and my smart, smart mouth. But those changes, while real, are still maddeningly incremental. Everyone else seems busy going forward and I feel like I’m standing still, by myself. The most exciting thing I did today was go to the grocery store, and after nine months in East Texas, I still didn’t know anyone there.

Jesus said, I came so you might enjoy life and have it in abundance. Umm hey Jesus, this isn’t enjoyable. It’s hard and lonely, and I miss my tribes in Colorado and California. What am I doing in Texas?

Maybe I’m a lonely because I have moved twice in four years in a state where family is king, and I have exactly one household family member, if you don’t count the dogs, and he thinks I am losing my mind, which I probably am.

Or maybe God had to kick a few things out from under me in order to gain my full attention, to see if I really want to be the person I say I do. That, I’m afraid, isn’t going to come cheap.

My teacher said this morning, sometimes God holds us back until we are well-prepared to handle the consequences of our prayers.

What do I expect? I make one good choice two years ago and God has to give me everything I think I want in 18 months or less? Christine Caine has been at it for years, steadfastly moving in the will of God, working, praying, trusting the God who redeemed her sexually abused and abandoned self and made her a living epistle, the good news wrapped in a little blond firecracker. It’s clearly a process.

I heard someone say once, I’m glad I don’t know what God is up to, because who wants to serve a God they can figure out? That would mean he’s only slightly smarter than us.

So, in the meantime I remind myself not to complain, I pray and just do what’s in front of me, all the while encouraging myself with things like this:

But those who wait for the Lord (who expect, look for, and hope in Him) shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up (close to God) as eagles (mount up to the sun); they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. Isaiah 40:31