Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sibling Assignment #110: God's Country -- An Inward Land

Inland Empire Girl raised this question for this sibling assignment:

What do you consider God's country and why?

InlandEmpireGirl's post examines Lake Chelan, here and Silver Valley Girl will get to this assignment when it fits with a letter of the alphabet...don't get the lame joke? No problem. Go here and you will.

I don't know if I can explain this very well because it's a private experience and there may not be words for it.

I'll try.

One day, back in the 1990's, I took a drive in the Silver Valley. I went up one of the gulches near Osburn. I don't remember its name; all I remember of the physcial location is that a ways up a trail there was a place where riflemen had done a lot of target shooting. The site was littered with casings and shot up targets and other stuff.

The only other thing I can tell you is that it was pretty warm that day and the heat excited the smell of the cedar and pine trees and this excited an experience inside of me.

One by one I started to see the faces of my fellow Kellogg High School graduates. They didn't appear before me, the way ghosts do in movies and plays and cartoons, but they appeared inside of me, and I could hear their voices.

They didn't say anything in particular, but I could see and hear them and fellow graduates I hadn't thought of in quite a while were with me on that trail, inside the pine and cedar smell.

The experience stirred me. I stopped. I let the faces keep coming. I didn't try to stop what was happening and I silently said hello to them: Debbie, Mary Lou, Frank, Denise, Ken, John, Rick, Wes, Carla, Annette, Gary, Tom, and many more, and tried to listen if they had anything to tell me.

They didn't, exactly.

They didn't need to tell me anything.

The feeling I had is not easy to describe. All I can say is that I knew this was my foundation. These were the people, whether friends or not, that made my life what it was and is.

Some didn't come into my life until high school. Others came into my life in junior high. Others came in elementary school and a few have been in my life since the day I was born and a few others since pre school Sunday School.

In this moment of, what can I call it? this moment of visitation, it felt like we were all a part of something bigger than any one of us and we were all in it together, whether we have never seen each other since 1972 or have seen each other a lot.

When I think of God, which is always, I think of unity and I experience a unity that stretches beyond the church and encompasses all persons, whether they profess a belief in God, or not.

You see, this experience on this trail to a place where guys shoot rifles and guns was a mystical experience. It took me out of the place I was walking and the time of the year and the time of day and suddenly I was with people who live all over the place and who were not with me in time.

I think we were with each other in God's country, a place without geography or boundaries, a place I feel deeply inside, and place I experience most deeply when I'm in the Silver Valley or with friends from there.

It's an inward country, a place in my soul, a spiritual resting place, a retreat, a place of love and unity.

God's country strengthens me and gives me hope and it's the foundation from which I move out into the world, trying to be as true and decent and kind and faithful and good as all those people I grew up with me who paid me a surprise visit among the gun casings, shredded targets, pine trees and cedars.

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