I’m a little late in posting this, but one of Mama Kat’s “Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop” writing prompts this week was to write about the most amazing 7 things you’ve seen with your own two eyes. I’ll confess that most of the other prompts didn’t really resonate with me and although this one seemed interesting, it didn’t at first either, so I spent most of the week thinking I’d pass on linking up this week. But somehow my heart and mind kept coming back to this thought, and how blessed I have been to encounter some precious people and witness some spectacular places in my life thus far.
So without further delay, I’d like to share a little about the 7 wonderful places I’ve seen:
1. My first home – OK so this one is a little simplistic, but being able to buy my own home as a single educator was not something I thought I’d ever be able to do. And when I did, I did it up in normal fashion – with the kind of unique twist that seems to happen only to me! I bought a short sale house and then because there is nothing “short” about a short sale, ended up living in a hotel with my cats for three months waiting for the bank in charge of the short sale to accept my offer and to close. Oh, what an adventure that was! (Two years later, I can finally look back and laugh. A little.)
2. Dachau – when I was in 5th grade, we visited the site of the Dachau concentration camp. Truly, there is nothing more humbling or horrifying as walking through the very barracks, fields, gas chambers, and ovens where thousands of Jewish men, women, and children were slaughtered during World War II. I am not Jewish but that is of little relevance here – the unwritten stories lingering in the air here are ones for all of humanity, a reminder of the evil of which we are capable. The sign outside the camp reads: May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defense of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men.
3. Christ the Redeemer – If Dachau symbolizes the depravity of humankind to me, then the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil symbolizes the unconditional, expansive, indescribable love of God for each and every one of us. Unbelievably, it is “only” the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world, but to a 7th grader standing in awe of the magnificence before her, it was impossible to believe there could be anything bigger. Especially touching to me are my vivid memories of standing in Rio and as I looked one way, I could see mansions and wealth as far as the eye could see, and as I looked the other way, I could see the favelas (slums) lining the mountainside and streets, bursting beyond capacity with the impoverished of the city. And yet here stood Jesus, arms wide open, welcoming each and every one. What amazing love!
4. The first snow of the season – This isn’t exactly a place, but I can’t help but include it in my list of wonders. I no longer live in a city where it typically snows very much during winter (last year being the exception – we missed 5 days of school due to snow and ice!), but I have vivid memories of my childhood in the Texas Panhandle. You Northerners will have to forgive me here, because even the Panhandle snows cannot compare to what you get, but for me, they were enough. Even now, years later, I have to admit that there is something about the beauty and peace of that first, untouched snow. What an unmistakable reminder of God’s cleansing: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7, NIV).
5. British Virgin Islands – Wow. That’s all I have to say about the beauty of sailing around the BVI. About 8 years ago, some friends, my current boyfriend and I rented a sailboat and sailed the islands for 5 days. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, honestly. My words cannot do justice to the clarity of the ocean, the magnificence of the flowers, or the vastness of the sky that surrounded us. Nor can they properly convey the beauty of the people there, from the taxi cab driver who stopped to pick mangoes for us on our adventure around the island to Ivan, who ran the campground with the open bar and kitchen that was run, unsupervised, on a total trust basis. If I had it to do all over again, I think I would spend just a few more minutes just quietly soaking in this grandeur – God’s paintbrush truly came alive here!
6. Texas Panhandle Sunsets – I have a weakness for a sunset in any variety, but for some reason, the sunsets of my childhood home stand out above them all. Perhaps it is because the Panhandle horizon is relatively uncluttered – by buildings, lights, mountains, trees – so the spectacular colors of the sunset truly seem to envelope you at every turn. The autumns here may not bring with it the vivid colors of leaves changing as the seasons turns, but oh, I think the sunsets here can rival those you’ll find anywhere else. If the BVI amazed me with its greens and blues, how my precious childhood home overwhelms me with its reds and oranges.
7. My prayer chair – Of course, this is not the only place that I pray, but in my bedroom, I have a chair that I’ve lovingly named my prayer chair. Originally, I thought this area would be my “sitting room” and I’d spend hours here reading and relaxing. But really this has instead become a place reserved for precious moments of prayer and reflection. This fall I finally found the perfect print to hand above my chair. It reads PRAYER: It’s hard to stumble when you’re on your knees. Oh, how I need to spend more time here than I do. But oh how I treasure the fellowship I have with my Heavenly Father in this place.
And those, my friends, are some of the most magnificent places I’ve been privileged enough to see with my own eyes. What about you? What places touch your heart and soul in a special way? I’d love to hear about them!