I come ‘round the last curve in the road. A smile grows on my face as contentment grows in my soul. If I wasn’t sure before, I’m now convinced that this impromptu detour down “J-Hill” road was a great idea.
I can’t wait to get down the drive and park the car, quick turning off the radio allowing for the silence this place demands.
I look around for a rock to carry up. Unsuccessful, but decide the rocks don’t have to be literal, my figurative ones will work just fine for today.
The ascent begins and I ponder… Was it really nearly 10 years ago that I made this climb for the first time? I also recall some of the “rocks” I laid down here nearly a decade ago… some of the same burdens I’ve come here to lay down again today.
I pass the crossbar and continue the hike, thankful that the frozen ground makes this journey a little easier than the typical summer day with shifting dirt and sliding rocks. Near the top, I finally turn around. The awe-inspiring view steals my breath once again.
As if there were an automatic recording, the familiar tune and words begin to come out of my mouth…. “Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary…”
I ponder again… how many times have I climbed this hill? How many times have I sung that song? How many rocks have I laid here… my sins, my burdens, my hurts, my joys.
I linger for a while but eventually begin the hike down to the car… hearing in my head the instructions that for many years came out of my mouth… “If you turn your feet sideways it makes it easier to get down without slipping.” (As this thought passes through my head, I also slightly regret not changing into the gym shoes that were in the trunk.)
On my way down I pay specially attention to the names that remain on weather-worn rocks.
Julius. I pause a little longer here.
I wonder… What burdens or pains or hurts or sins might he have left there with his rock only weeks before he left every burden behind forever and went to the place of no more tears.
The names and rocks continue, some more familiar than others. Each name representing the same thing… a life changed in this place. Each rock carries a story… one often known by God alone. Each rock left there together forms a certain shape reminding… We are free. Over the last decade, hundreds have made that same climb leaving behind their “junk.” And now, collectively, that “junk” is somehow able to point to our risen Lord. To God Alone be the Glory!
Thanks God for today… for that spontaneous voice in my head that prompted my journey to 7821 Lyons Creek Road… one of the places in this world that has the label “home” in my heart … a place that gives a little glimpse into what our forever home will be like.