Heavenly Mansions

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I miss green, open spaces.

When I was smaller, my family and I would visit some family friends who live up in the mountains. They had a small house built into the side of a mountain. You had to drive through a creek and down cow trails to get there. The setting was calm and green and peaceful. Our friends were peaceful people who enjoyed good food and good conversation. The daughter in the family was two years younger than me, and we’d climb all over that wild little mountain, getting muddy in the creek, playing at being Robin Hood and Little John. We made a promise to each other that we’d never grow up. Not really.

My heart hungers for green, open places.

One of my non-genetic sisters grew up on a farm. The farm is located in the middle of nowhere–a nowhere surrounded on all sides by crawling, smoky urbanity. To get there, you take a series of windy back roads through forests with houses scattered here and there. Then the trees part, you see open fields and languid cows and a house floating on a sea of grass, anchored to a couple of ancient-looking trees. Step inside the house, and despite its modern amenities, you feel like you’ve stepped into an alternate time zone, where clock tick slower and you might just be living in a different century. There’s no road noise, just the occasional lowing of a cow.

My soul starves for green, open places.

Three years ago, I flew to Croatia and drove into their remotest villages. The hills are steep and rocky there, but still wildly green. They are dangerous hills best admired from a distance. Grass and vines eat old shells of farm houses alive, but the new houses are bright red brick and brightly colored stucco and sing little tunes of optimism to the passerby. Even in the larger villages, there’s little road noise. Everybody walks. Even the river is silent. Children run barefoot in the grass and plunge their brown legs into the water, their laughter making the loudest music the town will hear that day.

At night I dream of green, open spaces.

God talks about mansions in heaven. But I’m content without a mansion. I’ll change it for a tiny house and a heard of goats and a garden on a green, wild little hill. Where I can walk in peace and feel the wind on my face and know that all is well with eternity and me.

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