Maybe its just me getting old and trying to hold on to some shred of an idea that there is still youth left in me. Or maybe it’s just me being sentimental beyond belief. Maybe I just have too many romantic and nostalgic notions, or maybe I just live in the past too much.
But when I am here, in this place, surrounded by people who have known me since my youth, people who shared moments with me that shaped the heart of who I am, I can’t help but feel that much closer to the person I sometimes think I have forgotten how to be.
Here, in this place, where the smells are all rain, pine, and clean air…here where all the sounds I hear at night are the cicadas and the crickets singing their night song…here where the stars reach down and touch the face of the water…here in the place where I grew up, my home away from home.
On this mountain God is real and on this mountain, God is near. I hear His voice whisper through the breeze at night, and I see His face on the smiles of the little ones too excited to sleep because they couldn’t wait to get here, just like I couldn’t wait to get here. I talk to God with every step I take on this holy mountain because I would swear this place is His temple.
I walk by places and some have changed, some are new, and some, ageless, remain the same. Each hill, each tree, each structure has a memory, and I know this place like I know my own hand. Yet, every time I am here, I see new beauty, I hear new words from God, and I leave longing for the next time I will be here. It’s all still the same as it was years ago, when each arrival brought the promise of new adventure and new friends and each departure held new memories and sadness over the leaving.
When I look back to what made me who I am today, it wasn’t the people I saw every day, it wasn’t the things I did at home, nor was it what I learned in school. What shaped me into me, were the people that I spent each summer with, those who taught me how to love with abandon, to trust even when it hurt, and to believe the best in others because they believed the best in me. The things that I learned here, like what God really did require of me, what heaven really meant, and that faith really is that simple have taken me farther than any equation in algebra or sentence diagram ever had a hope of doing.
So maybe I am just getting old or maybe I am just a sentimental, but either way, as I drive away from this place, my heart is sad to leave, but rejoices with the new things learned, new people loved, and the possibility that it won’t be too long until I see this mountain again.