When I was asked to write a devotion for this year’s Lenten Devotional, my first question was, What is the theme or scripture? When I heard the theme was “finding your cave, quiet listening places” I immediately pictured a rock outcrop on Clear Creek outside Golden, Colorado. I could even hear the burbling water a dozen feet below my perch. I haven’t thought of this place in decades, but in less than a blink of an eye, I was transported back to this tranquil scene. How did I come to find such a serene place, you might ask? Stress and loneliness. Sounds ominous and depressing, but was actually very common for that point in my life. I was a freshman at Colorado School of Mines in Golden taking a heavy load of classes (the stress) and a little homesick (loneliness). Don’t get me wrong, I had a great group of friends at Mines and my education was going rather well. I remember that one day I just had an emotional melt down fairly common to college freshmen far from home. I started walking with no intended destination and wound up 2 miles up Clear Creek Canyon. I found a place to rest and soon felt that a peace was settling upon me. The rushing water, the breeze in the trees, the sun warmed crystalline bedrock. First, I tried to reconcile logically what was happening. This was simply stress relief I thought. However, my mind was still full of stuff. As layer upon layer of logic and emotion slowly peeled away, my mind cleared and all I knew was the rushing water, the breeze in the trees, the warm bedrock upon which I sat. Time lost meaning and I was immersed in my little bit of solitude. I cannot recall how long I was there, but I remember how good it felt to have this place to myself for a time. Did God talk to me while I was there, I don’t know, but in those moments surrounded by beauty and peace, I felt calm and open to what my life would experience next.
I visited this place many times in my two years at Mines, each time feeling the peace and tranquility I experienced the first time. Thinking of this memory has made me realize that I have many of these “places for listening” in my life. Music, the ocean, forests, even vineyards have all fulfilled this definition. But it is that warm rocky outcrop in Clear Creek Canyon that holds that top spot on the list. I have never found its equal. It is time to find that peace again. It is time….
You never know where fate will lead you. It might just lead you to that tranquil spot meant just for you.
Prayer: Grant me the ability to clear my mind so I may be receptive to your voice. Help me to find listening spaces and moments of clarity in my daily life. Amen.