Autumn always feels more like a new beginning to me than January. It’s probably my birthday in August and the time we spend away in Colorado. Returning home is a fresh, spring-like start for me (after the two weeks of dreaded re-entry, of course). I come home with plans and goals and energy, eager for work.
The reflection that vacation affords is becoming increasingly precious to me. Even with a toddler in tow one can’t help but go deep into those thoughts that have buried themselves under the busyness of every day activity. I love the absolute still of our valley – I have never heard such quiet anywhere else in the world. At times it’s disconcerting. Calling you to actually uncover thoughts and fears and hopes that are easier to keep hidden.
One such day I felt distinctly ill at ease with myself and my thoughts – easily distractable, unable to get at what I was searching for. My favorite place is at the kitchen table of our little cabin, looking out on the whole of the valley, watching the rain soak the wild flowers. I looked down at the stream, only yards away, and could hear my sister’s voice in my head. “I have never seen the stream that low,” she had said only a few weeks earlier. I had to smile to myself – every year one of us says that exact same thing. Or maybe it’s, “Has the valley ever been this brown? We need rain!” Or “This road is the worst it has ever been. Something must be done about it.”
All of my 33 years I have been coming to the same place and listening to my grandparents and then my parents and now my siblings have the exact same conversations. It is all an outpouring of our firm and devoted love for this particular spot – our favorite in all the world – a spot that means “us.”
Thinking these things I looked up at the mountains, majestic, grand and so familiar that I can trace their shapes now in my mind’s eye. Year after year I looked out on the same vast scene. Every year I was different. Every year my life had a different shape, a different feel, a different taste. But this scene – these mountains – this stream – they were always the same.
And then I thought of God, preserving His world through the generations, through history, through all of time from the Beginning to the End. Suddenly I felt safe. I knew myself to be absolutely secure, tucked away in the generations of God’s children. My own life with all of its joys and sorrows and defeats and triumphs is only a small, barely visible piece of His determined plan to bring His Kingdom to this world.