An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. ~Henry David Thoreau

I can still see my grandfather walking across the hillside, hands clasped behind his back. He strolled down the lane, across Cherry Tree Hill, and then whistled for the dog to fall in line as they neared the house.

It was his daily constitutional. Gather the mail at the end of the lane, bring it to our house, then walk back to his. The entire trip was about a half-mile of slow, steady thought.

Walking just seems to open the mind and the ears.

Paul and his buddies were in Troas. The last year or more was spent running from one city to another trying to stay alive and yet preaching certain death. Now he gave all the last directions he could before heading off again.

Continue reading “Contemplation”

After Dark

The depth of darkness to which you can descend and still live is an exact measure of the height to which you can aspire to reach. ~Pliny the Elder

I have an older brother who basically ruined my teen years. He was a little on the wild side, so his shenanigans put a kibosh on my fun. I asked to have my curfew extended, but my dad said -you guessed it-

“Nothing good ever happens after dark.”

Truer words were never spoken on that fateful night in Jerusalem outside the Mount of Olives.

It was evening. Dinner was over. Jesus and his friends went to the garden to sing and pray.

Instead of a mountaintop worship experience, Jesus was met by a band of protesters, haters, and killers. His quiet night of fellowship with friends became loud with accusations and demands. Betrayed by one of his own inner-circle, Judas’s kiss sealed Jesus’s fate with an inky darkness.

But the tragic night became pitch-black for Peter.

He had started by wielding a sword in defense of his friend and ended in complete denial of his Lord and Savior.

Twilight to nightfall to darkness and gloom.

Have you been there?

You’re all about Jesus and his mercy, then you enter the doctor’s office and come out a total wreck.

Or you’re singing his praises while washing the dishes. Then you get the call that your teen was at a party with drugs and everyone is downtown.

You’re serving at the homeless shelter when your neighbor calls. Your spouse had a massive heart attack and was found dead in the driveway.

You were ready to brandish your sword, but now you just might fall on it.

This is not the time for decision-making.

This is the time to wait.

Judas made a fateful, final decision and lost the opportunity to see the brilliance of Resurrection Morning. Peter cried his heart out and beat himself up.

But he didn’t make a decision. He waited.

And he was there when Jesus assured him three times that he loved Peter no matter how dark the night.

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this. Luke 22:20-23 NIV

Morning Mist

Greylock Mtn, MA
Greylock Mtn, MA

Morning mist floated across the roadway distorting our view. Slowly we traversed the curves and narrow stretches along the unfamiliar mountains. Looking out the passenger side window, I knew we were travelling precariously close to the edge of the road and no guard rail offered comfort. It was scary, treacherous driving.

Gradually the sun shone through the mist. Droplets of water reflected sunlight like diamonds under light. A fox bounded across an open field where deer grazed, glancing at our car, but maintaining their stance. We rounded the curve and saw squirrels chase each other across the road and up an old elm tree. The narrow road that had held such danger only moments before was now a naturalist’s paradise.

Crossing a bridge, the warm water began rising again shrouding our way with a veil of mist and fog. But this time I knew the way was safe. I had glimpsed the surroundings and knew there was nothing to fear.

The mist followed us up the mountain and then blew away toward the east. The large, puffy clouds scattered revealing tall trees and large boulders. Mountain laurel and rhododendron blooms dotted the rocks with splashes of white and pink. The sky was a brilliant blue.

Often my way is shrouded in mists of mystery. Should I go this way or that? Is there a guard rail or will I fall headlong into failure? I creep carefully, cautiously, nearly stopping. And then the fog lifts, the Son lights the way, reassuring me that he is there even when I can’t see him.

But the sky doesn’t stay clear, the way doesn’t remain obvious, and I consider turning back.

The only way to see the colorful splashes, to enjoy the protection of the trees, to bask in the warmth of a clear sky is to keep travelling up the mountain.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6


What clouds are covering your way? Are you giving in to the fear they cause or are you marching ever upward?