November 17, 2008
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Valleys are usually the low and dark portions of a walk or hike. It’s no surprise that they are used as a metaphor of the low and dark times of life. We all walk through valleys. As a country, even as a world, we seem to be walking through the low and dark place of bad economic times, an economic valley.
I took the accompanying picture of a valley, a ravine, really, in Hocking Hill State Park in Ohio. Yes, it’s low and dark. However, if you look closely there’s also beauty! Even the lowest and darkest of times can have something good about them and can have something good come of them.
One observation about valleys is that they seem to be a place where God hangs out. When we go through a valley we can find Him there, if we but look with eyes of faith.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. for you are with me…” Psalm 23:4)
(Don’t foreget, I have several other “Lens On The Soul” pieces under “Photo Essays” in the categories listed to the right)
December 9, 2007
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This Old House
I spotted this old house while driving south on highway 56 in Ohio on my way to my private retreat at Hocking Hills. My peripheral vision only caught the scene as a blur but I realized it needed a better look, so I turned around and went back. The house did not disappoint me! If this house could talk! One wonders how many families called it home. How many Christmas mornings did children anxiously make their way down the stairs to gifts waiting? How many tears of misunderstanding were shed within its walls? How many meals were eaten in its kitchen? I suspect a lot of living took place in this old house that was, but is no more, a home.
Houses get old and eventually someone figures they’re not worth fixing up anymore. They’re abandoned, and the deterioration accelerates. Believe it or not (but please do, it’s true) while I was taking pictures of this hold house a gust of wind, not all that strong, sent yet another piece of small wooden trim from the house falling to the ground. Yes, I saw the slow and usually imperceptible process of decay happen right before my eyes!
It’s OK for a house to deteriorate – it’s just wood and stone. Homes are another matter. Homes are made up of families — of moms, dads, husbands, wives, and children. The building material is not that of wood, brick, nails, or wiring but of love, hopes, forgiveness, patience, compromise and a host of other building materials. A home should never be allowed to deteriorate. House improvement is optional, home improvement’s not.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
December 2, 2007
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Lens on the SOUL — Essay 2
Colorful Mineral Deposits
The vivid wet painting is usually hidden by the waterfalls but it’s been dry at the Hocking Hills State Park so the falls isn’t running. There’s just a dribble of water down the back wall of the falls. This dribble, over many years has left deposits of iron, other minerals, and algae too. Sun striking the wet surface brings out all the glorious colors on the day of my visit. So this is what’s been going on backstage while the curtain of water’s been concealing things!
I would have liked to have seen the falls in operation but since God turned off the water supply I’ll settle for this subdued display of grandeur. How long has it taken for this many-layered painting to get to this glorious stage? Like its subterranean sculptured counterparts we call stalactites and stalagmites, probably centuries.
Some use the medium of acrylics, others water colors. God paints with minerals on a canvas of stone, or is this too really a sculpture? With God the art forms blur. That’s what happens when you have all the time in the world in which to work!
The behind-the-waterfalls art is a reminder that God’s in no hurry. He has centuries to do things and actually eternity, when you get down to it. It’s good for us to remember that God’s timing is different than ours.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8)