Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Morning Meds: Dwelling


. . .and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. . .
Last night I drove through the pick-up lane of a fast food restaurant in the neighborhood where we used to live and saw, once again, the upstairs window I used to look out of when putting our baby son to sleep. The floor plan of that home will never leave me. On the east side, upstairs, my daughter used to sleep beneath windows where dawn turned the whole world glorious, inside and out.  In the room between, my wife and I shared intimacies that seem now almost furtive, right there between our two little kids.
Down in the basement, south east corner, on a cement floor covered with series of second-hand rugs I continuously replaced after heavy spring rains, I wrote more than a few books. There’s a wall-sized book rack we made in the family room, and in one of my short stories there’s a description I remember, for some reason, of the way the January sun used to slant through the windows of the living room.

The woman who lives there today bought the place from us when we moved, but in a spiritual sense that house is still my home. 
A year ago now, our new, old house was a mess because we were leaving that one after 27 years, an old place rich with golden oak that made it look, somehow, like the kind of home that really should belong to a preacher.  It was a great place, the house our kids grew up in and finally left; but oddly enough my wife and I shed no tears leaving it, even though every square inch of it probably still holds ghosts that linger of our lives there.  I hope they bother no one.
It was a great place to live, really.
Just a quarter-mile away from where I'm sitting, studs are up from the basement to the first floor of a brand new house we never dreamed we'd build but are.  We're staying here along the river, and this new house will have windows galore to allow us see mornings and evenings we've never really seen--as well as dark and starry nights in the country.  It's become, in a way, a dream house, even though neither of us spent an hour dreaming about it.  It's the landscape we love, but we get over to the building site every day to watch this real new house grow up, just a couple of retired people too old, some tell us, to start anew.  What the heck.  We love it.

You've got to pity poor King David.  The man held a life-long passion for building the house of the Lord, a burning desire to create a space for God, a real dream house. 
Only trouble was, God said no. The Lord God almighty didn’t want King David’s hands on the tools. “You are a man of war and have shed blood,” God told him, and that was it.  The decison was final.  There'd have to be another builder.  No second chance. 
That was an incredibly sad decision for a man who loved God as much as he did, a poet/king who was loved just as deeply, a man who wanted, like nothing else, to put up the studs on God's own house.
His lifelong passion for building that temple, for the dream itself—and God’s rejection of him as a builder—just begs to be read into this famous last line of one of the most famous poems in all of literature. Finally, even the King couldn’t do what, more than anything, he wanted to.

 But I swear I can feel the tyranny of his resolution in this last verse--"I shall dwell"; and that determination is stronger, I believe, because he had once, here on earth, been forbidden.

David is smiling, I think, but his fist comes down hard when he testifies that he’s going to live forever in the house of the Lord, something he’d wanted for so long, even if he doesn't get to pour the concrete.  I'll be there, anyway, he says.  You can count on it, Lord.

There’s an assertion in this final verse of the psalm, an assertion with the punch of a power hammer. That’s where I’m going to be, says the rejected builder, and that’s where I’m going to live and move and have my being, praise God, for eternity. “And I shall live in the house of the Lord forever.”

See that pointer finger? And he’s smiling. Forever.  His house is going to be mine.

What a story. What a line. What a believer. What a God.


Anonymous said...

A new season with new opportunities! Makes me wonder how God is going to use you both in this season and in your home to bring him glory completing the plan he has for you here from the beginning of time.

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