I set out to discover, to find a walk for my soul, a way to remember. It’s a journey within a journey: and isn’t this how life spins us?
Mist rises from pond’s mouth, living air sighing happy at the sight of sun, and my soul rises to breathe it.
First lines of the day’s new song penetrate the world in shimmering rays. It’s an ancient melody, an aching ballad, a groaning hope. The aged earth sings it fresh to its Creator in this autumn, the first time for this day, the same as each day since her inception. And doesn’t the habit of mercy meet us new, and old, each day?
Dependence on fresh graces can stagnate into assumption and dullness, unless we receive eyes to see. It humbles us, making us a forever student, one who always needs more than they know. But it makes us alive, hunger beckoning us on, because we have tasted this goodness. And doesn’t grace upon grace spiral up like this, where we come around again and again to the same beauties, always new?
Guidance and boundaries dot the walkway, and grace isn’t so much a tight rope to be nervously balanced as it is a fenced enclosure, in which to dance. And how often do I listen for the invitation to celebrate?
Walnuts scatter across the path, seeds fulfilling their destiny, many of them disintegrating into fertilizer, never to realize their potential. And how many of us rot away? And how can we help it, unless we are rescued and planted? One road leads to ultimate death, the other to fruitful life. And how many lives pass through time’s ebb, never living the glory of resurrection? How many victims never get the chance to even breathe this air? How many lives snuffed out so soon, so needlessly . . . and the world can be cruel.
The path winds upward, and it has to. We have to know there is something above, something more, something to dream for. It requires more energy to climb, and round the bends; and often the dullness of resignation calls louder than the pain of hope. And don’t we have to know that there is something good ahead? The breeze tells us, the sun invites us, the path beckons us on. And isn’t the path itself a mercy?
I find the long road. I turn right and follow it to the end. It’s a raised embankment, with deep ravines on either side. And isn’t grace a highway between two ditches?
The road ends sudden, cleared and built for a purpose fulfilled, and that is all. And it is enough. Some journeys end abrupt, and we cannot retain sight or use of all the paths we walk. Each leads on to another road, and if we stopped and built cities, the journey’s wonder would die. And how often do I settle for the safety of apathy, of a life so protected from pain that I lose a reason to die, and a reason to live?
I turn and retrace my steps, remembering, following back, so I can walk again, and travel further. And in remembering, we are re-made. The pieces fall into place, the melody played backwards teaches us what we could not know while questing ahead.
And the paradox of grace tells us what we could not hear in the clamour, in the deafening pain, and the anguished silence:
“Yet I will still hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him.’
The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”