Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here…” Matthew 17:4
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee. ~Augustus Toplady
We took a break from the teaching session on our ‘Silence’ at Potter’s Inn in Divide, Colorado and had some time to disengage, reflect and pray in any way that seemed helpful for us. I was going to go for a walk and Nette went to our room. Before I left for the walk in the mountains, I went in to our room to get a jacket. Lynette was lying across the bed, propped up on an elbow, reading something from our binder.
I glanced at her and asked, “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know” she said. “I guess I don’t like doing this silence and solitude stuff. I feel uncomfortable being alone with nothing to do or distract me.”
“Why is that?”
“I guess it’s because I don’t feel like there is much down in my soul to keep me company, and it has always been difficult for me to feel like I was the ‘beloved’ of God like they are talking about.”
We laid on the bed in silence; I heard her sniffle and knew she was crying. I let a few moments pass and then asked, “If I lost my arms, legs, and voice in an accident would you still love me?”
“Yes,” she said.
“Even if I couldn’t do a single thing for you, not even thank you for loving me?”
“Of course I would love you” she said.
“Could you allow that if you would love me when there was nothing I could do to earn your love, that the infinite God of all things would love you for just the way you are?”
Sniffles and silence.
“But I don’t feel loved like that from God,” she said.
“Want to try to go for a walk?” I asked. “I know your knee is hurting but it might be good to walk the prayer trail together.”
We went slowly and talked deeply. We continued to let silence linger between us as we walked the trail—holding hands.
“I want to go to ‘The Cleft’” she said.
On the side of a wooded hill, in the shade of some Ponderosa Pines is an outcropping of rocks with one larger granite rock about the size of small car that a portion had split off in such a smooth and sloping way that it forms a seat. When you sit in it and lean back you are surrounded by stone.
We climbed the hill, passing a small sign that said, “Ascent.” The trail wound up the slope and was in no hurry. In the nine thousand foot thin mountain air we were in no hurry either, stopping several times to catch our breath and take in the heavy pine scent of the woods.
“Wouldn’t that smell be wonderful to try to capture and breathe for ending our Sabbaths each week?” Nette asked.
We arrived at ‘The Cleft’ and stood before the pink gray stone, noticing Cairns placed here and there; serving as make shift markers of epiphanal moments from pilgrims past.
I walked up to the wooden bench and sat facing downhill some twenty feet away from ‘The Cleft’ while Nette studied the Cairns and the cleft. Presently, she stepped towards the rock and sat in the chair-like split of stone. She stroked both sides with her palms and fingers as if she were rubbing the armchair of her grandpa’s favorite chair.
“It feels like God is hugging me. I want to sing.” She thought for a moment and then began to sing,
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul, rejoice!
Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear
From a distance I watched my wife transfigured. I witnessed intimacy with the Almighty and glanced about for material to erect a tabernacle—but settled for this memory instead. A breeze sighed through the pine boughs as if a choir of supplicants praised the Creator and joined in the worship with this golden angel who felt beloved in the arms of God.