I walked outside in the hour before the sun rose (morning twilight) above the mountain that is our horizon line, expecting quiet. The sun had been coming for awhile. For those outside of the canyon, the light of day had already dawned and I could perceive its presence was near but only to the point of still walking in shadows everywhere I ventured. This, along with the wind, made this morning twilight feel like deep moonlit night because that is what I know best.
I heard the bare branches clacking against each other like a bamboo wind-chime does, just a little less hollow but every bit as eery, empty. I wondered at my thinking this, where did it begin? But then it made sense, the way the vulnerable naked branches of the deciduous family of trees had now ended their season of blooming, leaf, and fruit bearing—they were empty. Every clack seemed to declare it.
They were undressed, alone. It began to bother me. Why did they have to be so loud and obvious about it? Then the river as well—it was too loud, like a shushing gone wrong, over-bearing, over-enthusiastic to hush, now it wasn’t quiet at all, not inside of me. Between the branches and the river and now the wind whooshing through the evergreens overhead and through me, cutting, hushing in the rudest way—I furrowed my brow. What was happening?
I felt like a stranger in a place I wanted to belong. I found myself glancing to my sides more than usual trying to understand the low mumbling wind, it was different from what I had known. It was not a recognizable howl. I found myself afraid and at the end of myself. I longed for full and bright morning. Ah morning, just the sound of the word is a comfort to the memory of this walk through the shadowy valley I could not find belonging in, everything was alien.
Moses begged to see Yahweh’s glory with his own eyes and found himself placed in a cleft of a rock, covered in shadow? He’d known warmth from the flaming bush, he’d known miracle the way it never burned up, he’d known dry ground when all else had been flood, he’d known light when all else was under shadow of death. Now, here, in mystery beyond mysterious wonders he knew best, did he feel at home? Did he belong?
We know he did. We have the vantage point of recorded history but he begged, and he declared, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here.” He knew only one place he belonged and he wanted what he knew best.
Peter, though, he instructed all the children who had been spread out into strange lands, places where they were strangers, in alien (to them) lands, to take hold of joy in the knowledge that in fact nothing was strange but rather that they belonged to suffering, in as much as they belonged to Yahweh.
Peter said to hold on and wait for God’s glory to be revealed like I was waiting for morning twilight shadows to flee, expectant, bothered to the point of trust, waiting like a watchman waits for nautical dawn—the time when land is distinguishable from water, fear is distinguishable from mystery that invites. Here, the place where trusting rises like a song to a faithful Creator who always brings the dawn bright as day.
So, we wait.
On Thanksgiving we give thanks, and the next day we give thanks anew and we know that every amen to a prayer is not an end, but a new place to begin again and again and again. We walk on as those who love and bring peace in the smallest actions, not because it makes comfortable or makes sense, not because it is what we have known best.
We do it because we know Who makes morning even when it is still shadowy and we think we might not belong.
We live new because we are made new, given new, stirred and fed new, every morning.
“Praise for the mystery, misting the morning,
Behind the shadow, waiting to shine”
-Eleanor Farjeon, Morning has Broken, published in 1931
I am grateful to travel on with you friends.
Hello kindreds! Thank you for reading my offering, my own birthing of hope in the Eternal Amen. If this writing stirs truth within you would you consider sharing it with someone else? I’m grateful you are here. If it feels like a place to grow then please stay awhile and subscribe, I’ll send you one of my poems to extend a warm welcome. To have a further companionship in prayer, check out my book here.
All photography ©Raynna Myers 2018