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Seeking Memory in Our Rest

July 23, 2013

Through the years, we have all amassed friends who are now scattered around the globe. Facebook keeps us privy to their big life moments and annual vacation updates. I’m always interested in the regional retreats friends tend to take…

Those serving in China escape to Thailand. I can only imagine the deals they must get living so near! Pennsylvanians go to the Jersey Shore. Chicagoans retreat to Michigan, Lake side. Seattleites head for the Islands. Here in Colorado, we head for the mountains.

When we lived in Istanbul, it was Abant. We would do anything to spend a weekend in this secluded mountain resort, surrounded by Pine covered hills and overlooking a lake. In the winter, we endured hours of traffic, trudging behind Intercity buses and inexperienced drivers to the summit of the mountain pass our coveted escape was near.

In the winter of 2003, when I was 8 months pregnant, the lovely snow had turned into a dangerous blizzard by the time we reached the summit. We pulled into a motel to spend the night before making it to the lake the next morning. All traces of the concrete jungle of our city were magically gone as we drove through Alp-like scenery to our destination. As we neared the hotel, we were greeted by a line of horse drawn, enclosed sleighs, a reminder that the pain of getting here was worth it. Rest awaited us.

Rest. We all seek it. Beach, lake, or mountains. We crave the beauty, quiet, and nature.

But there is something more we seek. Memory. We are in search of innocence, before heartache and life’s work and the stress of living became common place. That time in life when innocence was ours. It is that memory we strive to recreate.

Last week my family was in the mountains. We had strewn together a mess of a vacation including 5 different “beds” in 11 days: camping, hotels, kids camp, and a cabin. It seemed fun in the planning, though it was far from restful.

Mountain Flowers

Our route took us through parts of our State that I first saw on a summer trip with a group of friends from high school. It was my first time out West. My first time experiencing cowboy culture, camping under the stars, white water rafting, hiking a 14’er, the blue skies of Colorado. We took half of our group to Eagle Lake Camp, while the rest of us went to Summit Ministries. Regrouping at the end of the month, we knew we were all forever changed.

Last week I again drove the gravel road to Eagle Lake Camp to pick up my kids. As if it were yesterday, I remember being there at sunset, 22 years ago. My friend Mara had recently saved up and purchased her first SLR and she insisted we stop to capture Pikes Peak at sunset on our way down the mountain. She was my hero and the reason I was even in Colorado. It was her Mom driving and chaperoning; her Mom’s property that we camped on in Fairplay, where we just spent July 4 with our kids, enjoying ice cream and banjo music. Their love of Colorado was contagious.

That was a summer of independence and courage. The year before my senior year in high school, it served to both solidify my faith and give me a vision for my future. I didn’t plan to marry a guy from Colorado. I had no idea the house we stayed in was owned by a woman in my mother-in-law’s bible study… that he was down the road. But it left an indelible impression. It was a summer of innocence which holds vivid memory these many years later as my family wove our way through mountain roads and towns beneath the blue skies.

Innocence is that time when all feels right in the world. Eventually, most of us experience a shattering of this, some at younger ages than others.

The mountains hold even deeper memory for my husband. Our vacation triggered the pain caused by an untimely shattering of his childhood innocence. His memories of boyhood include a horse named Buddy, riding a 4 wheeler alone through his backyard forest, crazy pets, a log cabin dream home, and elk in the front yard on early winter mornings.

He spent 11th grade as an exchange student in Germany and returned “home” to a new house in the Denver suburbs. Robbed of contributing his voice to the decision to move, of packing up his own room, of saying goodbye to the epic wild boyhood he had enjoyed, he spent his final year of high school commuting to the mountains from the city.

I found him alone in the early mornings at the cabin, coffee and journal on the front porch, overlooking a small lake nestled in the peaks of the high country. He is still mourning what he had, treasuring innocence and slowly realizing his last 22 years have been a journey back.

A writer more than I, he is working on a book which covers all this. Innocence is our Eden, our shalom, he says.  “The window of innocence is far too short. Yet, by design, we were each intended to live eternally in innocence. God’s purpose for all humanity involved living contentedly forever with Him in Eden. Innocence, or rather, naivety to evil, was His intent for us all along. He made us for Eden” (The Brotherhood Primer, Chris Bruno, work in progress).

We are all seeking Eden, whether in short weekend retreats or summers at the lake. For most of us, we harken back to our memories of a time when innocence abounded. But for all, I believe that which we truly seek is of a time imprinted in our souls. It is called eternity.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 11, 2013 3:57 pm

    Lovely. Thank you. I’m living through some memories now, traveling through the states.

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