Where I come from

I have been participating in a Lenten retreat with Jan Richardson.  This week the theme involves thinking about stories, including our personal stories.  This is a piece of my story, much is left out, based on my growing up years.  Of course, it is also based on a few threads of the story that I happen to be thinking about today.  What from my childhood is woven into me now, I wonder?  What have I let go on the way? If you were to tell your story, or a piece of your story, about yourself and about your relationship to God, what would it be…today?  

I am from mountains—where winding roads on Sunday afternoon rides would throw us unbuckled (no seatbelts then), giggling kids against each other.  Where our burning muscles could climb us  to the top of the world.  Where cold spring water tumbled over rocks and numbed dangling feet.  Where we tunneled paths through rhododendron thickets on Mountain Lake.

I am from a home on a hill—where its ever-changing shadows on the green lawn created even more shifting shapes for our play “houses”.  Where milk and cookies and conversation at the kitchen table were the after-school special.   Where we roller-skated on the carport to the rhythm of our singing under the mountain’s amused eye.  Where I planted myself on the piano bench in the afternoon while others practiced cheers or field hockey.  Where I turned pages of music until I found one too hard for me and tried it anyway, and imagined what it could sound like one day.

I am from books—where the county bookmobile made summer stops in front of my house, the neighborhood exploring its depths and I emerging with several treasures. Where my bed had a bookcase to hold them and my father made one for my wall.  Where I tried on different personalities and work and loves and adventures.  Where I grew bigger on the inside.

I was bible-belted with stories and revivals—where I once played the do-not-dance version, but another time the short-skirt-electric-guitar version.  I am from mostly hearing God talk to me in between lines of my open bible while curled on my bed.  Or when I would creep to my raised window and feel the night breeze that stirred the neighbor’s hemlock tree, hear the cricket ostinato, see stars blinking and something in the depths of me would leap and stretch.

I do not know where the preaching pastor belatedly came from.  Because where I am from, I did not want to talk much in large groups.  That talk certainly did not come from the mountains where I would rather sit on a rock and be quiet.

But I am from Bob and Beverly, who have loved the Lord and have loved each other for 65 married years next week.  Who sang to me almost every night of my childhood that “one of these days you’re gonna rise up singing, then you’ll spread your wings and take to the sky….”  Who were puzzled when I left home walking into unconservative, take-to-the-sky ways.  Who could not follow, but loved me just the same.  That’s where I’m from.