Have you ever had one of those moments, when you are sitting outside, maybe the sun is warm on your shoulders, the air is crisp and clean and you close your eyes and your mind transports you to the past, to a place in time, where you were just happy, a place you loved, a memory that was precious?
Today, after dropping Josh at school I was walking home, the air was cool but the sun on my back was warm enough to ease the tension in my shoulders, the breeze brought that lovely fall scent that comes from falling leaves and a distant fire that is warming someone’s home… I stopped, right on the sidewalk and I closed my eyes and immediately I was back in Austria, sitting on a wall I used to favorite. It was one of those moments in time that is both bitter sweet to look back on, sweet in that those were such fun times and bitter in that it’s long since past. That home is no longer my home and on days like this, moments like the one I had on that sidewalk this morning, I miss it. I miss the mountains towering over me, always reminding me of God’s majesty, the air so crisp and fresh and smelling like the countryside. No smog, no noise other than the cowbells on the cows in distant fields and the valley, spread before me covered in morning fog so thick it could be a lake made of pristine glass.
There was a glasshouse on the wall of the castle where I lived, it had a wall that we used to sit on and from there you could see the whole valley, and all the peaks in the distance. If you got up early enough, you could sit on that wall and watch the sunrise, the colours red, yellow, purple, orange and blue reflecting off the fog in the valley, the trees especially in the fall would all match the colour of the foggy sunrise and you couldn’t help but see the hand of the God who created all of it. Always you could see the cows roaming the fields, the snow capping the tall mountains, and no matter what mood sent you to that wall, that view always managed to make you feel a little better and leave you feeling peaceful. I spent a lot of time on that wall in my years in Austria, a lot of prayers were whispered into the wind up there and found their way to Him. Some of the prayers were just thoughts I had and I didn’t even know they were prayers I had prayed until God answered them for me years later.
It was on that wall that I made friends that I still cherish today, it was on that wall that those friendships went deeper through deep conversations, lasting fun memories and sometimes, just through tears that were shared together. That wall, that castle, those mountains, that valley, those people were a hospital for the soul, the ER department in God’s kingdom that saved my life.
On days like today, when I walk down the sidewalk and am so easily transported back there because of a sound, a smell, the warmth of the sun, I am reminded that God is not just sitting in a valley in a small Austrian town waiting for me to come to the wall, he’s here, in Toronto, walking home with me on the way home from dropping Josh at school. My wall has changed, my God has not.