The Glory of God

 “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”  
                                                                                       Psalm 19:1

I grew up in the suburbs of northern New Jersey. From the time I was a child I dreamed of a home in the mountains. Visiting Vermont, and Lake George, NY, created in me a deep desire to escape the crowded, noisy, and busy suburban life, for the peace I found in nature. Somehow, I felt closer to God in the country. It was the stars. There weren’t any stars in NJ, and in my childhood foolishness I thought I had to move to where the stars were in abundance, just like the flowers. I was seventeen before I would begin to seek God in the country and leave NJ. I sought Him in drugs, bad relationships, alcohol, parties – all the places He is more difficult, or impossible to find. It would be a few more years – age twenty-two, before I would be introduced to Him by my neighbors in Vermont. 
We have moved too many times as a family, and I will never forget the moment we drove up a snow covered Chazy Lake Rd. to view a house I had already fallen in love with in pictures. It was way out of our price range, but I asked Dave if we could just look. We came around a bend and out of the woods and there it was – home.  Somehow I knew. By a work of God alone on the heart of my earthly father, he wanted to help us have this home. He believed he would be living with us soon, and the love of mountains was given to me by my father. 
I had moved too many times – often out of need – often running from myself.  Dave and I together had moved seventeen times – the children too many, depending on their ages.  Walking in the front door to the wide pine floors and cozy fire burning confirmed it; but it was the stars at night; they were beyond description here on the mountain. We were home.  My father died before he could realize his dream, but I knew he was happy that we could live it for him. 
I awoke this morning at 6 a.m. to tears that continue to fall.  Soon, I will leave this home and with it the place I have always seen God the most. Ironically, it was also here surrounded by this beauty that I have clearly seen the fallen side of life and suffering. It was here I learned to grieve – the death of our baby, Micaiah, shattered dreams, the loss of family members, income, and retirement, children growing up and leaving home. Aging – looking back at the memories you hold close become more than your plans for the future. It was here I learned to feel what others feel. [1] 
It was also here that I began to see the face of God in all of humanity and not just in the faces of my children, husband, friends or grandchildren; but in the faces of the Haitians in the tent city, the teen challenge students striving for a new life, the woman who just lost her home to a flood, the family ripped apart from a tornado that took too many lives, the mentally disabled, or the couple who was about to say good-bye as they bury their beloved first born son. They were the image of God. [2]
As my tears fall, I remind myself that every day I will remember to look up – not just at the stars, but at the One who created them; I will trust Him that He will be found wherever I am. I will trust Him that His desire is always for our good and that my love for Him and mankind will grow stronger.  I will trust Him that this loss of a childhood dream will produce a mature faith[3]. Mostly, I will seek to find God where He really is – with me; and I will try to see Him more clearly where He is to be seen – in the image of every person I meet.  I am no longer running; Jesus caught me, here in the mountains.[4]

[1] 2 Cor. 1:4
[2]  Genesis 1:27
[3] Rom. 8:18; James 1:2
[4] Psalm 139:7; Jer.1:5