The night we spent in Glacier National Park is quickly becoming a legend and a favorite fireside/bedtime story around here... but I don't want to forget what was going on in my heart that night. So while it isn't as thrilling and amusing as "The Story," I'm gonna write it down, if for no other reason than I need to remember it...
We were driving on the Going-to-the-Sun Road through the park after sunset. At first I thought it was getting cloudier and foggier, but then I realized we were climbing mountains and entering into the high clouds. Shadows grew, and the headlights of the van would only show us where we were going and not really what was around us or what we were coming through. We knew the road did not have guard rails, and we had the mountain on our left and the edge dropping off to a great depth below us to our right... I looked out my passenger side window and gasped as I couldn't see the valley floor below us. While we slept in the car on the side of the road, we didn't know where we were or what the view was ten feet in front of us. There was something very powerful and deep about that darkness and stillness, the height and vastness of the unknown that we slept in.
The next morning, we went back down that road, so we could see all the things we couldn't see in the night. We came back to the construction site, now patched up and open, and saw that where we had parked was facing an incredible view:
Maybe we would have been freaked out and terrified if we had known where we were, how one careless and foolish move (and we had already taken too many) could have taken us over the edge to our death, and no one would ever have known. Or maybe we wouldn't have rested and slept as we needed to because we were too excited, too much in awe, knowing it was too beautiful, too big, too much... That day, looking out over that view, my heart was breaking, and I couldn't tell you why.
I think God sometimes keeps us in the shadows, veils what surrounds us, and gives us a headlight just bright enough to show us the small space ahead of us where he wants us to go. He knows our hearts, he knows what we can bear, and he shields us from the greatness of what he is doing, so that we will steadily obey and trust him without becoming too overwhelmed. But his plan and his work is still there - much bigger and more dangerous (but good) than we could ever know. And when we are faithful to walk and rest in him, sometimes he gives us a glimpse, to remind us that it isn't just about us... it's about Him.... just to renew our hope and awe and wonder... possibly even to break our hearts again.
I mentioned before that we listened to Andrew Peterson's album, "Light for a Lost Boy," as we drove through the night. This album came out last year, and honestly I haven't listened to it much... it's not the kind of CD you can bounce to in the car as you bash around town, or you play in the morning to get you pumped for the day. I tried both settings, and it just felt too serious, and I couldn't quiet my heart enough to listen to the words and appreciate it for what it holds. AP has a deep soul... every album he writes is from his heart, so I think I had to wait for a time when I was ready to listen to his heart and find out what God was doing there. I got to that point as we climbed 8,000 feet into the clouds and shadows and blind curves of one of the most beautiful and wild places I've ever been on earth. The entire album tells a story, a tale of lost and found, of tragedy and truth, of an aching longing for eternity, of death being swallowed up in life... I've attached the music video of one of my favorite songs for you to enjoy.
I think God used that time and that music to prepare my heart for deeper things I would face this week, as the adventure continues...