Thursday, December 15, 2011

the hill where the LORD hides

The Word for today:
Psalm 33

mark this:  Psalm 32:7
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.

When I was a kid, I had a special spot.  I'll bet you did, too.

When I went to my special spot, I went alone.  I never showed anyone, or even told anyone, about my spot.   To this day, no one else knows where it is. 

And to this day, I still go there.

I grew up there.  A couple times, I broke down there.  There's not an emotion I've ever felt that I haven't brought to my spot.  I brought triumph and disgrace, and longing and listlessness.

I've often spoken aloud to my spot, but for the most part I've listened to the silence "she" speaks.  I've seen the wind there, and I've heard the snow.

Everything seems enhanced there.  Night is darker, stars are brighter; the grass is greener than the sky is blue; and the blue is truer than true.

I can't say with any certainty, but I think that my spot was a kind of surrogate for God, whom I had not yet met when I first found her. "She" spoke and remembered and understood; she knew more than there was to know.  She was here before here was here.

And when I was with her, I was there;  I'd arrived.   She is where the sidewalk led.


I found my spot when I was 11 years old.  Twenty years after that, they buried my Dad not too far away.  Since then I have often walked, on a summer's afternoon, from my spot to his.

There, on his gravestone, is a verse from "Requiem," by Robert Louis Stevenson:

This be the verse you 'grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;

Home is the sailor, home from the sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.

Longing, for both David and I, wouldn't stay in place.  Our desires incarnated; David found his hiding place in God:
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.

I found, in Jesus Christ, the existential imperative--the AM who I am not--that every moment of my experience demanded there must be.

So I can't help but wonder, whenever I stop at my Dad's grave, if his longing ever formed the face of God.  I hope so.

But it may be that all he found was a fragment of verse on the stone beneath the pine tree where the meadow meets the slope of the hill. 

May life hold more, in its store, for you and me and mine and yours: may your word become flesh, may your longing unveil her face; may we 'grave a better verse.


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