His neck turned as his back arched and twisted in his efforts to swivel around the passenger’s side front seat suede chair. “Do you see them now” he queried, “see them taking flight?” His white hair frosts a strong face long-since lined with the passing of time and the accomplishments of the goals resolved upon by a steadfast man of God. While age has taken its toll, marks of pain scar his heart more deeply than all his eighty-odd years could possibly have done, scars of premature separation from the wife of his youth, claimed by cancer and gone on ahead to Glory. A sadness lingers in the air around him, a longing to join her sometimes so palpable that I am nearly transported to the gates of that Great White City to witness a reunion more beautiful than gold. Ever and always, he is looking up, listening for his own beckoning, gentle summons.
“They are just now lifting off,” he commentates, craning his neck to witness the evening flight of the sharply outlined geese. “Ahhh, do you see the purple in the clouds? All that color above the mountains?”
As evening fades to twilight, I am more in awe that a man with his story still twists and turns to catch glimpses of a Colorado sunset, pictured through car door windows. Beauty still beckons to him, even now, even here.
“There’s Pike’s Peak,” he calls, “and Evans and Longs Peaks. I am never lost with those three mountains to guide my way.”
With my husband driving and myself safely ensconced in the back seat, I am content to watch and listen. Content to absorb the wisdom and reverence that has carried David’s grandfather through the storms of life. I listen to his tales of faith, tales of trials, and I know that there is a God who sees and knows. A God who loves. A God who never forsakes.
Not five minutes later, a sermon wafts through the car, as he gently instructs the next generation. “There is no greater way to show love than to obey,” he explains. “Obedience is the real fruit of love.”
Obedience is the sign of love, I muse. Obedience. Obedience is greater than sacrifice. Obedience goes hand-in-hand with trust. Hard obedience. Accepting faith. Hands open wide for whatever the Maker chooses to bestow. Receiving all as Gift. Obeying in return.
Can I walk this road, so pockmarked with pain and disappointment? Can I crane to catch Beauty when my heart’s desire remains elusive and ethereal? Can I obey?
I pray that my answer is a resounding “Yes.” I pray that my submission becomes a sweet incense. When age draws tic-tac-toe lines across my face and wrinkles a body witnessing the passage of time, then I pray that my gentle words waft around hearts also beginning the ascent to the Mountain of Love, the Kingdom of Glory. There can be no greater love than this . . . to live a life laid down to the call of Love, twisting and turning to catch the moments of beauty passing before our eyes. No greater Love than this.
*Sunset photo taken by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. His personal web site is www.ColoradoGuy.com.