Well, I realized why I had been thinking about Job and pain and loss and your image of God and so on and so forth. Right about this time, four years ago, my family and I came out to CO to work with a friend and a church and almost one year to the day later, my family and I moved on from that friend and that church. I've written about that experience here before and no doubt will continue to do so; it was something that truly changed our lives. If pain and beauty are the only two things that can pierce the soul, then we got a double-piercing. Pain and beauty at the same time.
There was this overwhelming beauty to the Front Range of Colorado, the geographical section of the state where all of a sudden, mountains pop up out of the plains. There are further ranges further west, but the Front Range is where it all begins. These mountains bless us literally and metaphorically, for they represent the place where much began. There will be further ranges, further west (metaphorically), but this is where much began.
Years and years and years ago, plates began shifting beneath the earth's surface and combined with heat and gravitational pull, these mountains jutted out of the flat earth. The breaking of long established surfaces must have been dramatic and violent. Trees, rocks, rivers - it was all at the mercy of the uprising. But the master artist was creating. What looked like chaos was not. The soul of the plains was being pierced.
And that is how we feel. Things had been shifting beneath the surface for years for me and combined with passion and the gravity of God's hands, a new landscape began to emerge. Long established surfaces were broken. Job patterns, friendships, the denomination of my childhood, reputation - it all seemed at the mercy of the uprising. It was both dramatic and violent. Things were torn asunder. T.S. Eliot's prayer - Lord, teach me to care and not to care became the mantra. There are things in this life worth caring about and the number of those is precious and few. The rest of the things in this life are distractions, lesser gods competing for our time and attention. To live at the beck and call of "the many" is idolatry. And idols seldom die without a fight, an uprising. The prophets of Baal can be a formidable presence (think Elijah). At some point in that tectonic shift of the soul, a stand must be made - "as for me and my house." It is painful and tearfilled and lonely. Awfully lonely. Don't let anyone tell you differently. If someone tells you about it in heroic shades, rest assured, they've not been there. They may have read or dreamt about mountains, but they were not there at their birth.