Logging Mileage in the Barren Land
It’s twelve hours –around the lake and Flathead cherry orchards. Through Missoula where we lived in poverty for five months during early marriage –hate that town. An overnight in Bozeman and nabbing my girl from Montana State for a hotel slumber party. Turn at the oil refinery in Laurel. Grumble at the Welcome to Wonderful Wyoming sign because it’s immediately followed by a mandatory 10-mile-an-hour drop in speed. Past the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody and then through an hour and a half of land with no people in it. Honking the horn through the tunnels after Thermopolis and then watching the Wind River Mountains, backdrop to my childhood home, grow bluer and taller.
When it’s that man of mine driving, he grumbles at the post-Cody stretch. Says he hates driving that leg of the trip the most because it’s miles of nothing.
I think it’s beautiful.
And on this trip especially, going home again so soon after my dad died, the terrain greets me as an empathetic friend.
I know how you feel, it says.
Nothing grows here, except miles of sagebrush and an occasional very brave tree.
I keep driving, enjoying the companionship of a place that knows it should be sad with me, and the Lord whispers to me –these miles are a place.
They’re a real place on the highway, lovely or not, and no matter how many times we drive to Wyoming from Kalispell, summer or winter, holiday or for no good reason, we have to go through that part of the country.
And there are stretches of life that we cannot go around.
Pain and grief. Stress and hardship.
They’re a real place.
And we can’t get from where we are to where we want to go without passing through the soul-lonely land.
But after long, am-I-ever-gonna-get-past-these miles, there will come a place in the road where green grows and color marks the landscape again. A place where water flows fast and there’s more to see than just nothing.
We’ll get there.
“…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…” (1 Peter 1:6 NIV)
HI Christy! I just heard of your blog today, and read from Feb. 16th up to today’s entry. What a blessing! I knew you played piano; I did not know you could write. My husband died suddenly April 12, 2013, and I have 2 daughters who will love your thoughts and the way you express them as much as I do. Grief IS a place, and though the topography changes daily, the “place” doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon:-). Would love to see you someday! Blessings, Becky Berry (from BSF)
Oh Becky, so good to hear from you, and I’m so sorry. We’re only at the beginning of our journey through grief, and right now it’s hard to imagine getting through the first year. I imagine it’s painful for you and your kids to come up on the one-year anniversary. I would love to see you, too. Thank you so much for writing!
Oh Christy- such good words. I was just thinking last night that maybe my heart cant grow larger and stronger and more like Jesus without suffering cracks in my current heart, maybe there’s just no way around the bleak times, maybe they are a good thing. Or maybe I’m just failing? And then I wake up and read this. Thank you Christy.
I’m so glad the Lord encouraged you! You are not failing just because life is hard. This is where God does his greatest work in our hearts. Thanks for writing this note.
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