The wind blew sharp and cold against my cheeks and neck. I pulled my coat tighter around me, wrapped my arms around my body, and hunched my shoulders against to shivering breeze. The clouds above me moved with the wind and the sun was no longer hidden. It began warming up again and I closed my eyes against the brightness and took a deep, contented breath of fresh air.
It had taken several minutes, after climbing the path to the top of the hill, to realize what that mysterious sound was that I had heard. It was the wind as it flowed through trees, around hills, up valleys and down mountainsides, reaching past, jostling from behind, swirling about, reminding me of what it feels like to be away from the rest of the world. I took another deep breath in and blew it out again as tears made pathways down the makeup I applied earlier that morning. It seemed as if the tears were melting away parts of a mask, revealing my true face and with it my real and exhausted emotions. On this mountain, in front of three giant crosses, I was at the end of who I thought I was. I was at the end of who I had become.
For the last several years I believed I was a city girl. I don't like camping, I don't like sleeping on the ground, and I don't like getting dirty. I like electricity, I like indoor plumbing, and I like to go places and not take all day to get there. From a very young age I loved the excitement of being in large cities, going to gigantic shopping malls and being surrounded by beauty and glamour. I was captivated by that shining and shimmering world, that alluring universe of enchantment. I wanted that life and the one I had paled in comparison.
For the last two years my life turned upside down and inside out on me. Life as I knew it was forever changed and, for the first time in years, I was forced to view life with fresh perspective. With my foundation shaken to it's core, all the things I had been excited by in the past no longer look so grand. Instead of being full, I am empty. Instead of excited, I am bored. Instead of enchanted, I am discontented. It has all been fluff, no substance. The make-up, hairstyling, and clothes all seem like a waste of time and energy and a chore.
These things aren't bad to do and I will most likely keep doing them, but what my heart was concerned with was ugly. The things of this world that I've been preoccupied with leave nothing to be desired. It's like eating marshmallows for dinner. They may taste good at first, but they won't last long and you'll eventually get sick on them. My concentrating on the things of this world was making me sick and I had no idea until I got away from it all for the weekend.
The first day we drove into those mountains I felt withdrawals. I was nervous from being so far away from civilization, but after a day I began to relax. Instead of hearing honking horns and reving engines, I heard the rustling of leaves and the scurrying of squirrels. Instead of being surrounded by hundreds of homes and people, I was surrounded by swaying trees and whistling birds. And instead of feeling lost and alone, I felt found again and more full then I ever have in a mall.
As I sat on that mountain top, feeling the wind brush away my tears, I found a peace I had long forgotten. The peace of simply coming before the Lord and laying all of me-my sins, insecurities, mistakes, triumphs and gifts-at the foot of the cross. I have been so caught up in the 'bells and whistles' of Christian living that I have forgotten the simple wonder of sitting at his feet and praying. Like my distraction with the world, I had become distracted with church music sounding the 'right' way in order to worship Jesus and concerned with who delivered a sermon than the sermon itself. Shame on me.
But the baggage I had carried on my back as I drove those switch-back roads to the ranch, fell away at the top of that hill. What my heart longed for was the exquisite beauty of simplicity. Simply coming before the Lord with the Word of God opened and a voice to sing praises to Him. Nothing else is needed, only ears to hear and a heart bowed before His throne.
"You can have all this world, just give me Jesus." ~ Fernando Ortega