When all said and done, it’s those hours that I cherish. The hours spent in the green Jeep under the gentle watch of the sweeping mountains on either side.
If God is beyond our humanly-defined modes of communication and we each hear from him in different languages, different ways, ways unique and personal to us, we must each have something precious to teach one another about God’s love languages.
My friend has taught me much, but one of the first things which struck me about him was the way he is moulded and moved by God through His Creation. He hears God in the soft footfall of a moose in the snow, in the swoop of an owl in the middle of the day – a gift just for us, in the magnificent lull of the Northern Lights as they breathe in and out of focus against a frosty black sky.
As on this particular day, as we drive through the valley hand in hand, I hear the deep resonance of the Fathers’s love-song calling out from the jagged peaks and cascading sides. And it’s in the security and adventure of this place that we have the conversations which change us.
The conversations which say: I see you and I’m okay with you seeing me. It’s amazing that when we choose vulnerability and dare to believe that we can bring our real selves to the arena, our dark shadows suddenly seem less important. They become broken-beautiful, bathed in the redemptive light of grace. The mountains on either side feel like ramparts of protection. That’s how I feel this day, head full to overflowing with snot and eyes streaming, in the green Jeep with my dear friend whom I love.
It was an exciting day for me, as the words which I had first scribbled in a draughty prison cell many months before, since washed in red ink, honed and whittled down had found their way onto a guest post for SheLoves magazine. This community had been so instrumental in my life over the past year. When I first came across it, I was overjoyed in a way only possible when we discover someone speaking and hearing from God in a language we understand.
The courageous and inspirational women in this community continued to sing melodies which resonated with my own, as well as move me to explore new words, new tunes, new modes of expression. I daily learn so much of the glorious, more-room heart of God from these women.
And as if through answer to prayer and a lovely lady called Fiona Lynne, I was invited to add my voice to this community on this one snowy November day in Canada. It was a gift-day and I felt blessed and encouraged. I wanted to respond to the comments and engage with the people who had read and joined in with the words on the page. Normally, I come as something of a pair with my mobile phone. Today of all days, the temptation was to do that as we drove through the mountain ramparts.
But something about the moment staring me in the face I knew to be holy. Perhaps through the love-language of Creation I felt the words ‘stop and listen’ settle on my heart. I put down the phone, put down the need to engage, to be in two different places. I knew these hours are where he and I are changed, where we lay down the roots which are tested in terrifying and beautiful ways in the frantic days which push up on either side. Something about the presence of the gentle, magnificent mountains and the gentle, fearfully-Created man next to me prompted me to detach my hand from the phone.
He smiled at me as I did, knowing it was significant. And of course it was worth it. I had two eyes to listen to what the Creation-breather was whispering to me through the expansive masterpiece around us. Two hands with which to communicate love through a hand-hold, through wild gesticulation as we shared stories. A mind not flipping between the multiple tabs open in my head. Learning a new language together.
This is the place in which vulnerability is laid bare, in which the laughs come easy, in which the nothing-conversations go on to form the substance of our roots, drawing them closer together. In which I find out that to him, hope smells like woodfire. This is a personal truth for him wrought through the years communicating with God through Creation, wandering the wilderness and in so doing becoming deeply familiar with the hope that can only come from the assurance of food, warmth, rest at the end of a long day.
I am forever grateful for the chance to have been able to join the story at SheLoves. And forever grateful for hours in which we cover miles – literally and relationally – with nothing but the mountains’ whisper to add to the song.