Saturday, October 20, 2007

where the sky is blue again

where I hear the rhythm of crickets
where the edges of white-tipped mountains poke through cumulus clouds
where green is the color of trees and grass and hills, not just the color of peeling paint

...this is a few days in Nepal.

I feel like I have been given a precious gift, that this world is a precious, beautiful gift. After being absent from nature the past few months, I feel like I have stumbled upon hidden treasure.
We just returned from the staff retreat. Dhulikel Lodge was our home Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. About an hour's drive from Kathmandu, it's a small cluster of buildings that overlooks a valley of terraced hills. In the distance, where the white clouds hover, we saw the tops of the tallest mountains in the world. Romans says that God can be seen in the things that are created. Sometimes in Kolkata, I feel like I am having trouble finding God. Maybe this is because nature and Kolkata don't co-exist. There are plenty of buses, cars, buildings, and a few million square meters of concrete, but not many trees, leaves, or hills. Some days, I even forget there is sky. The sky to be had is like a little gray toupee stuck onto the buildingtops.

Breathing in the Nepali countryside air was like being hooked up to an oxygen tank of pure hope. My heart, a little dry and crusty as of late, began to perk up. Only God could have made those mountains that look like they are painted right onto the sky. This God holds our lives in His hands, and He goes with us, whether down the dusty sidewalks of earth's biggest metros or along quiet trails hidden in the Himalayas.

Back in the day, I used to listen to a lot of Bebo Norman. I thought of one of his songs yesterday when I was journaling alone in a quiet spot off the path. "Walk down this mountain with your heart held high," the song says. For now, the peace of a retreat in Nepal is not my permanent dwelling place. I'm walking down the mountain. There is a month and a half ahead in Kolkata, and after that, something else. I do find God in the stillness of nature, and part of me thinks Thoreau was onto something when he moved out to Walden Pond for a two year tryst with the woods. But God is teaching me in these months that He is beyond place, that He is everywhere, even when I think I must have ended up in a city He forgot.

I'm thankful that He fills our cups.
I'm thankful that He calls us on.
And I'm excited.

How big can I dream, Lord?
"As big as I am"
My heart is small
"Mine is not"
I am afraid
"Fear not, for I am with you"
What will it cost?
"I gave the life of My Son"

2 comments:

  1. i had that same feeling when i got to get out and experience the mountains in Cualtehmoc a few weeks ago. God's revelation in nature is one of a kind.

    but, how true it that God's revelation is not limited to any place. i pray you continue to hear his voice in the concrete and noise, as well as in the mountains of solitude.

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  2. Lara, "Back in the day", "back in the day", you're 23, there is no "back in the day" for someone your age. :-) Back in the day "when the world was flat and I was young" (James McMurtry, Larry's boy, Larry of Lonesome Dove fame, doesn't anyone read literature anymore?)I was looking for adventures. But I was a flaming pagan, and the adventures I was looking for weren't ones of service to a lord. You, Rachel, Peter, Shawn inspire me. You give me reason for hope in the next generation. You've improved upon the species. Thanks for your service and inspiration. I love and miss you young lady. Please know I am lifting you before the throne. I praise God for you.

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