I lift my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
I recently had the chance to visit my hometown – Duluth, Minnesota. I only lived in Duluth until I was four, when we moved to Omaha, Nebraska. After Omaha, we moved to Schaumburg, Illinois, and after that, to Natick, Massachusetts. My childhood years were marked by these moves and experiences of different places. Duluth is rich in memories for me, not so much from my four years of living there, but from all the childhood summers I spent there visiting my grandparents.
The home in the picture was my grandparents’ house. I remember my grandfather’s large garden and picking raspberries during our visits. I remember a large swing on the front porch and sitting with my grandparents on this swing. I remember the view of Lake Superior from the upstairs bedrooms, and how the color of the lake changed dramatically depending on the weather.
Duluth is on a hill – I wonder how residents navigate the steep hills in the winter. I wonder how windy it gets when the winter wind comes off the lake. I wonder what it is like to shovel and plow the snow on the steep driveways and streets. My grandparents’ garage was in the alley behind the house. How did they climb the hill from the garage to the house in the snow?
My lens into Duluth is based on summer visits. I have a sense my memories would change if I visited Duluth in the winter. My narrow memories might become wider if I went in the winter. My experience would grow from a pleasant walk on a summer day to a struggle uphill in the snow. It is the vastness of God that allows us to go home again. We can’t limit God to one type of geography or one kind of experience. This vastness can lead us into times of deep discovery and deep relationship with our Creator and God. Our God who made heaven and earth has multiple dimensions, many of which are waiting to be discovered.
Our openness to this process of discovery allows us to look at our lives and memories in new ways; and discover new aspects of our walks of faith we had not explored before. There are mysteries we need to be alert to. We can open our eyes again and again to what God is doing in the world. Sometime I will visit my hometown in the winter. Maybe I will be walking uphill in the snow. It will be a new experience, guided by the one who made the hills.
Creator God, guide us into your vastness and your multiplicity. Help us discover new dimensions of our walk with you that may lead us to new ways to serve. May our capacity to see expand again and again so we recognize and celebrate your ongoing work in the world. Amen.