Monday, July 21, 2008

Under Maple Trees

There's a book called Wild At Heart by John Eldredge that someone gave me last year. It's worth a read and goes on and on about being a real man, the kind that hunts and fights and protects his family, in a world that just wants you to do the dishes and take out the trash and just be a nice guy. Men were designed with a purpose, and for a long time filled it well, providing for their families with their strength and cunning, defending them and such. Nowadays we're expected to be calm and nice, fill out paperwork, mow the lawn and whatnot, and above all... not be dangerous.

That's all in the book and you should check it out on your own if you're a man in that kind of circumstance, or if you have one of them in your house. The part that I'm thinking about tonight is the section about getting into the wilderness. The author suggests taking a manly retreat, camping, communing with nature. The point is to take a break form the world of paperwork and taking out the trash and live the life you were built for. Hunt and fish, do strenuous labor to survive. He also talks about hearing from God on these epic journeys he takes. His example is finding a heart shaped rock in a stream after a day of fishing. It might not speak to anyone else, but that was God's own love note to him.

Now I don't care much about fishing or hunting, hiking, kayaking or any of that. I win my family's bread by the sweat of my brow and get plenty of exertion, excitement and danger while I'm on the clock, and a tan to boot. For me the place I want to get away to is home, that's where I find God slipping me a little love note.

I stepped exhausted into my front yard tonight, damp as the July air around me. I could see the moon rising through the branches of the mature maple trees in my neighbor's yard. The street lights I grew up under were shining down through the boughs of the maples in my yard. The oppressive humidity seemed more like a golden blanket thrown lovingly over my neighborhood out there. Even the sounds of trucks on the highway seemed to fit, I find them comforting the way people who grew up by the ocean love the sound of the surf.

I've lived most of my life under maple trees. Places I go that don't have them have no charm to me. The Grand Canyon was big, but it would be ten times more majestic if it was thick with maples. And so I stood tonight, under the maples that I grew up under, that my father grew up under, that my children now grow under, and in a way that had no words I distinctly heard God say...

Drink this in for a minute. I made this place for you and brought you back here when you could have gone anywhere in the world. It was my pleasure to put these maples here for you, to weather storms and survive droughts so they would be here to shade you. I breathed this soft night air so you could have a minute in golden street light under these boughs.

Sigh... God loves me.


1 comment:

'That Girl' said...

Wow - I love that.. My sound is singing bugs, and that's how the night humidity feels to me too. We had an exchange student from Germany once and he was freaked the hell out by the singing bugs.

I posted about manly things, and the meaning of manly things..