Friday, January 22, 2010

From the Mountains to the Seas

His mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness O LORD ~ From the Psalms

It is official. We now reside in Columbia, South Carolina - Home of the University of South Carolina. The Palmetto State received us with a sunny 68 degree smile!

Everything of consequence is unpacked and in place. Our 2 bedroom apartment has a warm feel to it. Just beyond the back patio, which has a western exposure, is a man-made lake surrounded by deciduous trees stripped naked by the cycles of nature. But soon they will be cloaked in their newest spring fashions with floral schemes. Yesterday, I sat outside and watched a family of Mallard ducks bob for food as they paddled from the edges of the shore-to-the-center, and back again. A gaggle of geese gracefully glided to the placid surface - their webbed feet skidding to a less graceful stop. A tall, bony legged heron stood statue still, but on the ready to stab an unsuspecting fish with its spear-point beak.

Depending on the direction we choose, a commitment of 90 minutes behind a windshield will put us at the foot of mountains, or the shores of the Atlantic. For centuries rugged, mountainous terrain has tugged at the hearts of explorers and adventurers. I am one of those men drawn to scaling rocks and cliffs, and walking the ridges. Taking a seat on a benched shaped outcropping to log my sojourn, trace the sunset, behold vistas - constantly changing as shadows shorten and lengthen - mesmerizes and recharge me spiritually. Grandeur puts things in their proper perspective - the infinity of the Creator - the finiteness of his creation.

When we lived in Columbus, Zach Thomas, a good friend and an Army Ranger, taught me to rappel - feet first and head first (Australian). Our first leap was off the roof of the educational building at Morningside Baptist Church. My second leap took place in the sanctuary of Morningside Baptist church. Zach and I rappelled from the rafters of the soaring vaulted ceiling onto the platform. At the time it seemed like a good idea - it was part of a promotion for our men's event, "The Call of the Wild." Since then I have rappelled in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and from platforms designed for that purpose in other places. I hope to hook up with some like minded guys down here and pick up where I left off.

Sandy loves the ocean. Over the years she often retreats to the rugged, rocky shore lines of Maine where the incoming tides violently crash into granite seawalls and natural cliffs, or to the feel of sand beneath her feet as she strolls along the endless strands and textures of beaches on the coast of Massachusetts and Florida. Such places are akin to the Celtic lore of, "Thin Places." Sounds, sights, and smells, elicit tranquility, comfort, and meditation. Journaling, long walks, collecting drift wood, peculiar stones, sea glass, shells, or quietly waiting for the sun to rise or set soothes her. Toes buried in the sand, pant legs rolled above the curve of her calves, wading through the surf, wind tussling her hair, and watching waves gently caressing the shoreline- fills her cup to overflowing.

I know that we will not be frequent guests of the majestic mountains or mesmerizing seas for some time. Getting the first Planet Fitness franchise off the ground is going to occupying most of my time, and presents a learning curve and challenge of a new kind - one I am anxious to get started on. Columbia represents: new adventure; new friends; new Faith community; new doctors and dentists; new geography; new experiences, and new responsibilities. This side of eternity nothing remains the same. His mercies are new every morning . . . and I am grateful that it is so.

Let the Adventure begin!

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