Before and After – Place of Refuge

Early October, 2005, we drive down US1 with dear friends, stopping along the way as we observe the stunning beauty of the northern California coast. This trip provides me with a gift I would need soon.

With signs promising an ocean view, we walk through the pedestrian walkway under US 1 along the coast, just south of Big Sur.

We aren’t disappointed.
A short walk further,
then this . . .

the breath-taking,
make-you-want-to-cry beauty
of McWay Falls
inaccessible except by kayak.

I can’t stop looking at it.
“Refuge” is what I see . I know
this will be my image of
a place of refuge.

Now twelve years later I remember
the catch in my breath
the beautiful ache in my heart.

That day, late October 2005, I have no way of knowing in just five weeks I will  desperately be in need of a refuge. That’s when the phone call comes telling me that my brother, Gordon has died after being lost in the Montana wilderness mountains for thirty-two hours, found too late to reverse the effects of hypothermia.

After the flurry of activities surrounding the week of his death and his memorial service, overwhelming grief sets in. I remember McWay Falls, representing a refuge.  I can tell you, God’s love and others who walk with me over the days days to follow look a lot like McWay Falls. It continues on bittersweet days when I remember, like today on my brother’s birthday, how sixty-one years ago, God gave a little girl a baby brother in answer to her earnest prayers.

That little girl grew up and knows God doesn’t always give us what we ask for, but he did then and I am forever grateful.

Psalm 62:5-8
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
         my hope comes from him.
I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God;
         He is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
         pour out your hearts to him,  
         for God is our refuge.

(Other birthday posts: HERE and HERE)

Today, January 12, 2022, as I update this post, this metal photo sits on my kitchen window sill reminding me to find my rest in God. Without really thinking about it, I notice the family phot with Gordon still in it, sits right next to the image of McWay Falls. It seems appropriate, don’t you think?

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