Saturday, February 20, 2010

I Envision ...

This is just something I wrote one day while many things were turning around in my brain. ;) I realizing it's probably the longest post in the world and if you don't really want to read it that's fine. But if you do, here it is. I hope you are encouraged with it, as I was. I cannot, however, take credit for the words, they just poured out of my pen and I know that God was the one giving them to me! Praise be to Him!

I envision a mountain, a huge mountain, bigger than you can imagine. I stand at the base of the huge mountain and look up, I can’t even come close to seeing the top. But this mountain’s peak, unlike any other mountain, is glistening. But not just glistening as sun would glisten off of snow, but it creates and emanates its own light. And the light on this mountain peak is so bright, the sun pales in comparison. So although I am unable to see the peak, I am able to see the shine, the glory, the effect of the peak.
My goal? To reach that peak!
I envision myself looking down at my apparel. Hiking boots … check. Hiking and climbing equipment … check. Backpack … check. Provisions for nourishment … check.
As my apparel and items on my person are adequate and sufficient for a short climb only, I look around for the helicopter that will carry me to the top of the mountain when I am tired of climbing, but I see none. I look for, perhaps, a lift of some kind to whisk me away when I grow weary of such a long climb, but again my searching eyes find nothing.
Am I to climb the whole way in naught but my hiking boots?
I envision, as I’m standing there, becoming discouraged at the prospect of such a climb, I see a man come leaping and bounding down the mountain in such a jovial mood, that I am suddenly distracted in my discouragement.
Such a happy, joyful face this man possesses and he seems nearly bursting at the seams with some sort of news.
When I am within hearing range he begins to shout, “Glory, glory, glory! All praise to the King of this mountain!”
He is so excited and bubbly that it is contagious and I begin to feel excited as well.
He comes to me and takes my hands in his and I see his face is not the only thing shining. His eyes, also, contain such a happy light.
“I see you have come. We’ve been waiting. I am Jonathan.”
I frown. “We?” I look around and see no one else.
“Why yes. We servants of the King of this mountain.”
I frown again.
“The King of this mountain lives up there, at the peak. Dwelling in the unapproachable light that you see even from down here.”
I look to where he is pointing and to where he has turned his own eyes. Awe and admiration shine forth from his eyes at the very mention of the King.
“I am one of many, many servants of the King, dwelling with Him in holiness. And we’ve been waiting for you.” He turns his eyes back to me now.
“For me? How did you know I was coming?”
He smiles. “The King called for you. And then we waited. His call went out over the mountains and valleys until it reached you. And then, even when you were still far off, the King’s eyes saw you coming … and again we waited.”
“But I did not hear a call,” I say.
“Your heart did. And it accepted the call and you’ve been changed from who you once were. Which is why you are here, to climb this mountain. I see the King has given you all you need for the climb.”
Again I look down at what I possess. I was wondering how these items came to be about me … they seemed to have just appeared.
“Is this all I am to have?” I hope he will say when I am tired of climbing the King will send a plane or a helicopter for me.
“Yes. But your supplies from the King will be new every morning. If you carry too much you will be weighed down.”
He then eyes my bag. “Perhaps even you wish to lay aside some of these things?”
I then watch as he unzips my backpack and pulls pictures and computer-like screens out of my bag. The screens are playing videos of my memories, both happy and sad. The pictures, also, show memories.
Then he pulls many other things, dear to my heart, from my bag.
I watch, my heart starts to beat faster, as I begin to think of laying these things aside and moving on without them.
“No,” I say, as I begin to pluck the things back out of his arms and place them back into my backpack. “No, I think I’ll be fine carrying them.”
He looks unconvinced but lets me pack them up again before he smiles again.
“Then I welcome you to the King’s mountain and welcome you also, now, as your fellow servant.”
“Fellow servant?”
“Why yes, when you heeded the King’s call you became His servant.”
I envision then that we hear footsteps behind us and turn to see another person coming up the path I walked not long before.
“Welcome Marta,” says Jonathan as he turns to greet the new lady.
“Thank you,” says the lady known as Marta.
“We’ve been waiting for you.”
Marta’s face beams and her joy and happiness seem to match Jonathan’s.
“Perhaps you want to lay this extra weight aside,” he says to Marta, unzipping her backpack. “It will only be heavy and hard to carry.”
“Yes,” she answers eagerly, “Yes, help me lay these things aside!”
I watch, feeling slightly guilty about the things I did not lay aside, but I conclude that my things are obviously more precious to me, than hers were to her. I watch as Jonathan then fills her bag with lighter, more necessary things for her journey up the mountain.
“Come, both of you. Let’s start the climb together. But I can only go with you a short while before I must leave you two on your own.”
I envision we begin to climb the mountain.
At first the climb is easily made. Things are relatively smooth and even, but yet I grow tired.
“Please,” I ask. “Can we please stop for a rest?”
Marta and Jonathan joyfully agree to stop and rest with me, though it is obvious neither is tired.
A tug at my mind makes me wonder if maybe, had I laid my things aside, I would not grow tired so fast. But I tell myself it is only because I’ve never climbed a mountain before.
Before long Jonathan must leave to welcome more servants to the mountain. We bid him goodbye and thank him for his help as we head off in the other direction, further up the mountain.
We climb a while more before I’m tired again. I ask Marta if maybe, we can rest again. She agrees but I can tell as she waits with me that she is growing weary of waiting to continue her climb.
Although I would like the company, I decide I should not be the cause of her not attaining that for which she climbs so eagerly.
I tell her I will be fine alone and that she should go without me. At first she hesitates, unsure if she should leave me alone, but soon the anticipation of seeing the King is too much and she hastens away, unhindered by heavy burdens.
I envision that I start my journey again, alone and still slightly weary.
Soon I lift my eyes to see where my path should take me next. I stop and shift my heavy bag on my shoulders. I sigh, I did not think my things would be so heavy.
“Lay them aside. You do not need them,” a whisper comes to me on the breeze.
I look around for the owner of the voice, but I see no one.
A ray of light crosses my eye and I lift my eyes to the mountain peak.
“Trust Me, you do not need such weights,” the whisper comes again.
But this time I know it is the King of the mountain who is whispering so gently to me.
I consider laying my things aside but can not yet give them up. Again I shift the straps on my bag and head forward.
Although I have ignored the command to lay my extra weight aside, the whisper continues to come to my ears.
I envision lifting my eyes again to discover my path and see the form of a person, ahead of me on the trail. The form appears to be a man, hunched over and weary.
I try to quicken my steps as best I can with my burden. It appears that this man also carries a burden, but as I overtake him in a short time I conclude his burden must be heavier then my own.
“Hello Sir,” I greet him as I come along side of him.
He says nothing, but brings his eyes to my own. He appears to be very worn out, weary, and tired. The deep lines on his face speak of trouble and struggle.
“Are you alright Sir?”
He nods.
“Where are you going, Sir? Are you also a servant of the King?”
He takes a few more steps and then falls to his knees, under then heavy burden upon his back. I quickly kneel next to him, helping him if at all possible.
He sighs and moves to a sitting position on the ground.
“Yes,” his tired answer. “I am a servant of the King and I am going to the peak to dwell with Him in holiness.”
His face brightens some at this statement and a little flicker of excitement jumps in my chest.
“Shall we go together? I can help you.” I try to help him to his feet, but he is much too weary. I try then to remove his backpack from his back but it is much too heavy for me to lift off of him.
“Sir,” I say, “You should lay aside this heavy burden. No wonder you are so very tired. How long have you been climbing with this burden?”
He takes a few deep breaths, trying to muster the strength to stand. “Years,” he says as I slowly help him to his feet. “Many years have I carried this burden.”
My eyes widen. “Then why do you not lay it aside and come along with me?”
He shakes his head. “I cannot give up these things. They are precious to me. And even though the King continuously urges me to lay them down and come to Him, I cannot. I must have them.”
He takes a few weary steps and I stand, unable to move. His words sound much like my own. Will I too, grow so weary that I will climb this mountain for years?
I am afraid and unsure. I take a few steps to catch up with the man, who hasn’t progressed much further and has once again sat down.
I look at him, seeing myself in his situation as the King’s words come again to me, “Lay aside your burden and come quickly to Me.”
I stand for a while, not knowing if I should stay and help him, or continue on my way. While I stand, I shift my bag again and the tug at my heart is stronger now.
“Sir?” I start, “Do you need help?”
A moment passes, his deep breaths the only sound between us. Slowly he shakes his head. “Many a person has come to help me, but I am unwilling to let my treasures go. I only hinder their progress. Go, I shall be fine alone. Maybe one day, I will see the King at the peak of this mountain.”
I look at him a while longer before slowly turning to continue on my way. Every now and then, however, I stop to look back. Each time I see him, further and further away, he continues to sit on the rock upon which he sat when I was with him.
The tug in my heart grows and grows, but I continue to push it aside.
I envision I come to a flat place and stop to take a rest. My burden is much heavier now than when I first started. I take it off my back and unzip it. Looking inside I see if there is anything which I could do without, for my pack is so very heavy. Rummaging through my memories, dreams, hopes, desires, music, movies, books and other things that occupy my pack, I come up with nothing that I feel I can live without and once again zip up the bag and slip it back onto my shoulders.
As I stand up I hear footsteps coming up to where I am. I wait to see who it will be.
A cheery face comes to my eyes.
A smile and a happy, “Hello,” are shared between us and I move toward her.
“My name is Edith,” she tells me.
“Pleased to meet you, Edith. Are you also a servant of the King going to the peak?”
She smiles. “Yes, yes I am. Are you, too?”
“Yes,” I nod.
“Wonderful. Shall we continue on together? Encouraging one another as we go?”
I’m uplifted by this thought and quickly agree.
We turn to leave but she stops. “Oh, just a moment.” She slips off her backpack and opens it. Taking out one of the things in her bag she holds it in her hands. Examining it, as if it is very precious to her. Then we both hear the King’s whisper. “Lay it aside,” again is the always soft whisper.
Edith looks down upon the dear item in her hands and tears fill her eyes. “Must I?” she whispers softly.
“Yes,” is the gentle reply.
Lifting her tear-filled eyes she looks upon the peak. The light of the King shining off of the tears in her eyes, she smiles and the item, once so precious and dear to her heart, falls from her fingers as she quickly steps away and comes to me.
Grabbing my hand, she pulls me up the path with her.
Soon, however, I am tired and panting for air and I ask her if we can stop.
We stop and rest for a while. While we are resting, I voice the question that has been on my mind since we started off together.
“What was it that you laid aside Edith?”
She brings her eyes to my face, all trace of tears gone, and the light of the King filling her eyes from within. “My dreams.”
I gasp at her. “Your dreams? All of them? Surely not all of them, just one or two?”
She shakes her head. “No, I laid them all aside.”
“All of them? But why?” I don’t understand. They were so precious to her.
“Because seeing the King is so much more important to me. And my dreams only weigh me down.”
I stare at her, unable to understand how she could do such a thing. Dreams are so precious, and I have so many of my own in my pack, I do not think I could do such a thing.
She guesses my thoughts. “It’s not so hard, when you keep your eyes fixed on the King. Everything else fades in comparison. Try it. Lay something aside for the King. You’ll never regret it.”
I think about it and slowly slide my bag from my arms. Slowly I unzip it and peer inside at my treasures therein.
Reaching in, I push some things to the side as I reach for something that isn’t quite so precious to me. Pulling it out I gaze upon it.
“But it’s not a bad thing.” I blurt out, tears coming to my eyes. I look up at Edith.
She comes to me and kneels before me. “Maybe not, but it is heavy, is it not?”
I look down upon it again. Slowly I nod my head. “Yes, it is heavy.”
“The King commands we lay it aside and to come to Him, quickly. Do not you wish to obey?” The eagerness in her voice encourages me.
Again I nod, stronger this time. “Yes, yes, I do.” Slowly I bend over and lay the item in the dirt by the rock I’m sitting on. I look down on it only a moment before my hand is taken by Edith.
“Look,” she says. “Look at the peak. Look at the glorious light and know that you have pleased the King and will reach Him sooner because you have laid aside this heavy weight.”
I lift my eyes and as I take in the wonderfully glorious light, my item is forgotten as I stand and shoulder my bag again. Keeping my eyes on the peak I make my way through the path.
I envision many more such times. Many such items removed and laid aside from my bag. And, I am surprised, I do not miss them, nor the weight they once were.
My heart is becoming happy and joyful and my step lighter and quicker. What a joy it is to have Edith at my side, encouraging me toward the peak.
Many times we sing and laugh and quote verses to each other and those times are precious to my heart.
I envision one day as we are walking along that we are overtaken by a young man. His smile is warm and he is very kind. He asks if he may accompany us on our way and we gladly agree. We go on encouraging each other as the days go by. More songs, more verses, more talking. It’s a joyous time to be together. But one day as I am again laying aside a burden from my bag, Edith comes to me and takes up my hand in hers.
“He has asked me to go along with him,” she tells me, a smile of joy and happiness on her face.
I don’t understand. “But we are going along with him.”
“No,” she says. “With just him.”
It hits me hard. “You’re leaving me?”
“I am sorry, but can you not be happy for me?”
I start to feel angry and unwanted. I want a man to walk with me, too. Why should she get asked to go along with him? She gave up her dreams, laid them aside. Why then should she get what I dream of?
But as my heart is angry and sad, my eyes lift to the peak and the anger melts away. The King sends those we need, when we need them. I’ve learned that on my journey so far. And if he has sent this man to walk along with Edith, without me, I should be happy for her, truly happy for her.
A smile comes to my face. “Yes, Edith, yes. I am happy for you. And I hope you two will be happy on your journey.”
Edith gives me a big hug, which I return gladly and then we part ways. I watch them go, so happy together and long for the time when, maybe I will have a man to walk with me.
I envision that there are many times now, without the encouragement of Edith, when I lay weights aside, but as I continue on my way, alone again, I begin to feel sad and alone and run back to snatch up the treasure I laid aside.
Many steps have been lost as I have only retraced them again and again and my progress up the mountain is slower and slower each day.
One day I am sitting on a rock feeling alone and discouraged that I am not making much progress in my journey when the King’s voice comes to me.
“Why are you sad and why is your heart heavy?”
“I am alone, my King. I have no one to walk with me.”
“But I am always with you.”
“Even though you cannot see Me, I am there with you and will never leave you.”
I look up at the peak. “Always with me?”
“Yes, My servant. I am always with you.”
This new knowledge encourages me and I jump up from the rock and quickly head up the path again.
Walking up the path the King’s whisper comes softly again, “Lay your burdens aside.”
With my newfound joy in the King I gladly lay aside my burdens again, much as I did before when Edith was walking along with me. What a joy it brings to my heart to know that the King is always with me.
I envision many more days go by. My bag gets lighter and lighter until there are only a few pictures, screens, and dreams left in the bag.
One day I am sitting on a rock again, enjoying the provisions the King gives me every morning. I do not know how, but every morning my provisions are newly filled and resting safely in my bag, just as Jonathan said they would be. And each day I find my provisions new, it encourages me and I start my day with a joyful step.
Today I am looking into my bag again. This time, however, I take out the memories, dreams, and pictures. I look at the different events in my life that are played out on the screens and tears stream down my face. Some happy scenes, some sad. But all a part of who I am. They are so precious to me. And my dreams. If I lay aside my dreams, how will I ever know what I want?
I look at the faces of those in my memories, in the pictures and on the screens. Some of the scenes that play are good and I’m happy to have the memories and some scenes I should not remember and cling so tightly to, but I’m afraid to let them go, because they mean so much.
“Why do you cling to them so tightly?” the King questions.
“I don’t know, my King. They are so very precious to my heart that I feel I cannot let them go.”
“Aren’t I more important to you than these mere memories? I am real and these memories are only what they are, memories. You cannot have anything from them any more.”
“But King, they are so treasured.”
“Am not I treasured as well?”
“Yes, but …”
“No,” his voice is gentle. “You cannot have both. I must be the only thing you cling to. No memories, no dreams, no desires.”
“What?! How can that possibly be?”
“Because I am all that matters. And I will fill your hands and your pack with things so much better then these simple memories.”
I look at the memories. How can that possibly be when these are so precious to me? Can the King really give me things that could be more precious. Can I really cling only to Him?
“I don’t know my King. I can’t.”
“You can! Come! Lay them aside!”
“No, King, I can’t.”
“You can. Come!”
Teas fill my eyes and I cannot see. “I cannot.”
“Come!” he says over and over.
Finally I feel I can deny Him no more and I drop the memories from my hands. I dump out the rest of my dreams and memories and desires onto the dirt. I drop also the bag and run away from the place, crying and weeping.
I am not sure where I am going but I run and run, trying to get away. Suddenly I trip and fall onto my knees.
“King, I’ve done it. I am sad and empty. Please King, please. Fill me as You said You would. Please King, please.”
I cry for many more minutes before I lift my eyes and look into the light coming from the peak. I am much closer to the peak than I thought. In fact, perhaps I could get there today.
I stand and slowly, wearily trudge up the pathway again. Closer and closer the peak comes.
As I walk I am suddenly surprised to find I do not miss the dreams and memories that I’ve left behind but in fact, my heart is filling with a joy I never thought I’d ever experience.
“Didn’t I say I would fill you again?” the King softly speaks to my aching yet happy heart.
“Yes King. How truly wonderful You are!”
My step becomes lighter and lighter and I begin to run. Faster and faster up the trail I run until I suddenly burst out of the trees into a clearing.
Taken aback by the sudden light I shade my eyes and step back. Taking a few moments to try and figure out where I am, I realize I’ve made it to the peak!
Oh the wonder and joy filling the top of this mountain! Servants of the King are moving everywhere, greeting one another, singing, rejoicing, praising the King. And as I look around I notice, all around the edge of the trees are paths that lead down the mountain. From these paths servants of the King are emerging, stunned, like myself, at the unapproachable light surrounding the dwelling place of the King.
From in the crowd someone calls me and I look to see who it is.
“Edith! Oh, Edith.” I run to her and fold her in a hug.
“You are here. I’m so glad,” she says to me.
We talk a short while before I inquire about the different paths leading to the peak of the mountain.
“Each person must go on the path that the King has laid out for them. Each path is different because the servants that come to the peak have different needs. Some of the paths are for the weary and they are much easier to climb. Some are for the strong and self-sufficient and they are much harder to climb so they learn to trust only in the King and not themselves. And some, some are for you and me, for those who need to let go of burdens and come to the King empty so that He may fill us with naught but Himself, and we may live in unapproachable light, filled with loving only Him and praising His name.”

*~ Miss Anastasia -- 2-3-2010