We roll across the country, our family of three, the grown daughter at the wheel, the little grandmother in the shotgun seat up front, the old grandfather huddles in the back seat, writing his blog on a roll of paper towels.
It’s cramped back here. But, the day is beautiful, as we drive east across Ohio, into the morning sun, hoping to make Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania and “the Barn at Turkey Hill,” for dinner. Tonight, as we cross America – beautiful America – to reach “the hills of home,” our lakeside among the mountains for the summer.
Will it be the last for our long lifetime? Or will it be the first of an unknown number of sunset summers at this Ossipee that has been a “holy ground” for four generations of our family; that has walked these shores that have been like Galilee to us?
Through the long years, our Ossipee has been the place of life decisions, of working things out, of faith-deepening, of far-seeing.
The lakeside, for us, as in Whittier’s poem, is where we, like the poet’s imagined Indian, looking down from mountain trails, saw, in the lake, “the face of God.”
As a child, I climbed with my parents, the high peaks that surround our lake. A long conversation I remember, with my father, when I was 5 or 6 climbing our Mt. Chocorua, talking about war, and what that was, and about the pictures I recalled seeing in the Sunday papers of Italian troops in rubber rafts, beginning an invasion of Ethiopia. You could see a long way from the mountaintops of the Sandwich Range near us, and later, further north, the rugged peaks of the Presidential ridge. You could see far, and think long, about life in this world of ours.
Decades later, on the same high trails, I took my own children climbing. And we too, talked on the trail, about God, and life. And later, they did the same with theirs.
The hills, in their own way, are healing. And so, are the lakes. There is dawn over Green Mountain and sunset behind the Ossipee. And then, the awe of full-moon rise, and later, the pathway on the water. Stars come out. And, in late August, the northern lights.
There comes a time when the whole earth speaks. The night skies, the turning trees. Winter snow. Spring flowers. Birds.
I go this summer, to paddle Pine River. To watch the embankment summer change. To see turtles, and ducks, and the gathering geese, preparing to head south.
The earth calls you home. Its high peaks, speak of God, and the heaven He inhabits. And the welcome He prepares for us when our days on earth are done. “I go to prepare a place for you,” Jesus said to His own. “And I will come and get you, that where I am, you may be also.” We want to go. We yearn to go. And yet, we cling to earth, and the clearly miraculous life He has given us here.
It is miraculous because it is God’s gift to us. All our days are marked with the plans God has for us. With the mysterious steps He has laid out before us.
All our days, really, are miracle days. God is all around us. Every day is a day of wonder. And, we need to see that, and be part of that – literally playing our part. It is God’s drama, being worked out within each of us – preparing us for the even greater drama to played out on the stage of heaven.
We’re not to be downtrodden by any of the bad days, and bad people of life. We’re to be people carrying about, a treasure, a divine knowledge, a gift – for the ages.
So exciting is life. So full of wonder, bound by promise, and hope. Find a place where you can rest awhile, and think about these things. And, more and more, be able to live for them.
Bless you, friends!
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. . ."