I worked in my apartment today (I'm still sleeping at Matt and Angie's.). Started washing walls. Planted flowers for my balcony. Organized my closet which is housing everything until furniture arrives. Went to pick up my bike and ride it home. Went for a walk around the neighborhood. Discovered a few little parks. Cleaned the bathroom.
Late in the afternoon a wave of loneliness and sadness came over me. I knew I needed to distract myself. So, I went for a bike ride. I had heard that there was a pool up the street from me. So, I went to find it. It turns out to be a big complex with indoor and outdoor pools, basketball courts, play grounds... looks like fun!
And behind it is a beautiful walking/biking trail. OK. When I say, "beautiful" you might have a half-hearted response. Turn it up a notch. And then another notch. Maybe one more. This is on the edge of the country side. We're talking vineyards. We're talking Villas and Cyprus trees on the hills. We're talking about air that is literally scented by hibiscus and other voluptuous flowers. Stone walls covered in ivy. Churches. And church bells. Old Italian men wearing little hats. Benches that when you sit on them you're looking at hillside villages.
It was in this spot that I poured my heart out to God... I want You more than anything. I'm lonesome. And though I'm a little sad right now, it doesn't change how much I want to follow Your will.
And I went riding. I weaved through one of those little villages (one on flat ground) and then I took a little road to the right. It was the one at the base of the hill... and I knew my house was somewhere at the base of the hill if I went right.
And that was the road. The road covered with the branches and leaves of trees. The road with tall powerful trees so close I could almost touch them from my bicycle. And I felt like I could breathe.
I had just told a friend the night before that I needed to find trees. Real ones. Big ones.
And the Lord provided. He provided. How in the world could I have found that road on my own? What's crazy, is that I had been on another section of that road when I was walking. But, this part - this was a gift.
And, the best part, is that it really is just around the curve of the hillside. Those trees are only five minutes away from my home.
A little refuge. A little place to breathe.
I came across a beautiful Christian prayer yesterday with a word I didn't know at the end of each stanza. It's Hindi: "saranam". It means refuge... as in "You are my refuge."
I want to nestle down into understanding that the One True God is my refuge. I want to know that. I want to rest in what it really means for God to be my refuge... my refuge and my strength.


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