Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Hunter

I am a hunter.  And I split the veiling darkness with light, tearing open drawers and sliding childlike under the bed.  I’ve haunted the dismal cellar, looked on every shelf, frantically thrown all closets open. 

I am a seeker.  And I drive into a horizon, where the hem of the sky brushes the turrets of the mountains.  Always, it is just beyond my reach, union of fabric between heaven and earth.

I am a chaser.  And I glide through the house, peering round corners and behind the pantry cupboards.  My quarry I have sighted but never once caught, elusive willow-the-wisp, taunting echo of a dream.

Of what I seek I can find no trace, for it is made of stuff beyond this world.  I seek the life I planned for myself.   

Perhaps it has merely been misplaced, I think.  Maybe it lies forlorn and buried in the shed under unruly stacks of ball gloves, fishing nets, and faded sidewalk chalk, those piles of grass-stained Illinois summers, now left behind, where once I dreamed.   

I know the scent of what I chase, can almost feel the all-familiar touch.  With care I fashioned it all myself, built my wishes into windows and walls.  Yet now it slips from my grasp each day, fading further into a haze on the horizon. 

Perhaps it was no more than a dream after all, a vision splendid spun only to fade with the waking, being driven out by the sunlight and the day.  Perhaps the fancy of twilit sleep is all that dreams were made for.   Perhaps—and yet…

And yet there it is once more!  The flicker of a shadow’s gown, like the deer going soft and gentle through the cathedral forest.  I give chase.  I can see the well-known edges.  I hunt.  Running frantic through the wood, the scent is familiar.  I seek.  I shred aside the leafy branches and leap the murmuring streams. 

Bursting into the meadow.  There it is, my quarry.  The same, and yet so very different.  Familiar, but somehow completely new.  The hope of my dreams has been refashioned by the hand of grace.    

I kneel quiet in the grass, tear off my shoes and plant hands and feet in the holy ground.  At last I think I understand, or at least I am beginning to.   The lesson is hard.  Perhaps it will be learned again and again until the heart freely makes dream-offering to the one who is able to do immeasurably more.  This sacrifice must know His goodness, cling to His love, and trust—trust that the fullness, the light, and the living, though mingled with the empty, the dark, and the dying will become the most perfect symphony, transfiguring fallen flesh into the image of His son. 

The image pauses, starts, and dashes away, offering me only a glimpse of Heaven’s hammer making perfect the life I planned, like the flash of a bird’s wing across my eye. 

It hurts at times, to feel nails driving into the flesh of the wood, to have the crooked places straightened and the rough patches smoothed.  But this I know, my God is good, and there is no evil within Him.  He dries the tears, allows mourning for what has been lost, and tenderly leads on.

My life I offer back to the One, still building dreams and hoping strong, but in this I extend my plans to the Builder, whose spirit leads and frames my steps along the earthly course. 

It is not the life I planned.  But I trust that it is better than what my own heart could conceive.  When I freely give rein, He is there to guide.  When I thrash and buck, confusion and pain pounding hard on His door, He opens to correct and to soothe His child.  And when I am weary, He carries me in love.  For the House of My Dreams belongs to Him, and He is the only one who can make it most beautiful. 

It is hard, but though I spend all my life in this hard learning I—Press—On. 

Life doesn't always turn out the way you planned.  Most of us know this to be true, but like spiritual amnesia, this lesson somehow slips away to be regained again and again.  By this point, I had hoped to have become an expert horsewoman...instead of a dirt flecked stablegirl, who spends hours sweating in the sand and sun for a living.  I had hoped to become a bestselling author by now...instead of endlessly "perfecting" a twilight-zone manuscript that seems likely to remain rejected and retiring comfortably in Microsoft Word for eternity.  There are a dozen others I could mention, but I believe the point to all of this is that lately I've been learning something.  God doesn't mind if we plan, so long as we leave room for the leading of the Holy Spirit, who may just violently swerve your neatly determined course to the right or left, sort of like avoiding tire rubber on the highway, but a lot more so.  Anyhow, it's difficult to surrender my dreams to the Lord, knowing that He may choose never to give them back to me, but it is still in Him that I trust, the anchor for my soul, which both tethers me firmly to Him while lifting me up in hope.  A Winged Anchor.  

"17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek...Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners,exalted above the heavens."  (Hebrews 6:17-20-7:26) 

 Images via:  aminta gonzales, Sarah K, designinspiration.net, troymarcyphotography.com, flickr, Cassie Mitchel, tumblr, 

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.