The Other Side
The ridge follows beside me, always, as a barrier to the cool, quiet place of rest. Meanwhile, I trudge along on this side, knee-deep in scratchy grasses full of swarming gnats. I watch the briars and crowded trees, looking for an open space – a way to cross over.
It is hot over here, sultry, humid. Recently I found paths leading through the shadows and underneath the canopy of trees - a network leading almost to the other side - that unexpectedly stopped. I returned somewhat refreshed by the shade, somewhat encouraged by the possibility, but also deflated. Reality said, “Not yet.”
Just yesterday I found a walkway along the top of the ridge where I examined both sides more clearly. It was a gracious and hopeful path, and yet realistic. Today, the way seems cluttered again, and slow, and headed back towards heat and oppression.
No! It cannot be! I will not end up on this side! And yet there is no stopping, no waiting, no going back. I’m obviously in the process of discovery, and must move forward as the clearing allows.
The only answer to such wandering is an expectant heart: knowledge that the path will once again turn, that the other side of the ridge will show up again, that I will, indeed, be granted permanent passage there. But even so, I must accept my current stance – the almost, but not quite, spot - the position of traveling the ridge, hopeful and watchful.
I know this, deeply, and yet it is hard to wait for what promises to heal me: freedom to enter the other side.
There it is, and here I am. I have seen, I have known hope that takes me far from inner pressure and this exhausting longing. It is a place of sweet promise.
Take me over the ridge, Lord. Cut down the thorns; clear the path. It is not far, this place. It is just a little further, on the other side. I’m almost there.
What is it? Where is it? Am I dreaming, or it is real?
My great escape from myself directs me there: into the deep heart of God.
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