Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 31: Land of Lush Beauty

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

I rediscovered a familiar place that I love today, a place I have been unable to get to during the busyness of the holiday season, the illness that followed, and especially while I was digging the trenches to prepare the embattlement of my own rightness.

I first discovered this land of lush beauty, nearly two years ago on my honeymoon. My discovery came set against the blue skies and sparkling crystal waters of a tropical Caribbean paradise. Our days were to be filled with luscious island fruits, sailing to volcanoes still clouded with steam, and hiking trips that led us through botanical gardens that whispered of Eden. And there it happened: My 48 years of humanness collided soundly and irrevocably with my husband’s 53 years of the same disease. It could not be mistaken, like Adam and Eve, lips still wet from that first juicy bite, we saw each other as we really were…

In the months before my wedding, I had been reading through parts of the New Testament, and found myself praying fairly consistently that God would make me pure in heart. My motive, to the best of my own understanding was upright, and straight-forward. I simply had a desire to see God more clearly, in my life, in others, in creation, and truly, in ways I had never imagined. A friend and mentor calls this God-sightings, and she looks avidly each day for His presence evidenced in her life.

The choice of location for our honeymoon had been a gift to me. I alone had been given the final decision on where we would spend our days, and I chose an island that I had read of years before in my days as a scuba and travel writer; St. Lucia. First class seats were secured for much of our trip, and having only flown with this privilege one other time some 28 years before, I was delighted at the care and detail taken by my new husband in the planning of our trip. Still, just days into perfection, it seemed I could only see flaw in the planner, and began to allow my vision to cloud. Not only could I not see God, I could simply not see the wealth of beauty that surrounded me.

In my blindness, I felt a whisper:

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for she shall God, in her husband.”

The message was as transparent as the ocean beyond the balcony of my room. I would see Him the moment I opened my eyes and started to look around. I would see Him, in the imperfections that make my husband utterly perfect for me. I would see Him in the generosity of a man who simply wanted our first trip as husband and wife to be a memory of a lifetime. And as I open myself up to appreciate every good and perfect gift that surrounds me daily, I will see Him: In the smile of my children, the faithful words of a friend, the food on my table, and the crisp sound of the rain as it dances outside my window.

I have found my paradise again, that sweet taste of heaven He so richly offers me if I will but look, the land where my eyes fill with tears of joy, and my arms are compelled to embrace those around me. May I learn to live in the land, for truly, it is overflowing with glimpses of Him.

Lord of All Creation,

How sweet is the place that You have planned for me, if I will but look at the beauty of it, and dwell in the land. You are never far for me, oh even, when I am so distant from You. Teach me YOUR ways that I might walk in your disciplines, and always look with a diligent eye for your presence. May I see You, that my heart might be pure!

I love You,

Your Beloved

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