The feature photo is a detail of one of our Church’s outdoor mosaic pathways. Its many individual shapes, and patterns point and intersect in different directions… yet as a whole, it forms a unique and beautiful design.
Such a heavenly morning! There was golden peach of a sunrise to the east, infusing all with a Gladsome light. To the west, a robin egg blue sky was backdrop to a full and splendid rainbow… God’s Beautiful Promise in the sky. Even the gentle raindrops seemed joyful!
Today is a reflection on childhood paths and dreams.
The first Sunday School Scripture I learned as a child was, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~ Psalm 119:105
Accompanying this verse was a delightful felt-board illustration, with a glowing Lantern illuminating a winding path with golden Light. My younger self imagined the many future adventures along life’s byways, while keeping close within the Lantern’s safe circumference.
It was around this same age (of 8), I decided that when I was all grown up, one of my paths would be to lead a scientific expedition to rediscover the location of the Garden of Eden.
Having studied Eden’s bearings in the book of Genesis, and after researching the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in my World Atlas… I was pretty pumped at the possibility of meeting the Cherubim Sentries, who wielded a flaming sword, and guarded the Tree of Life.
Preparing for all contingencies, and in a youthful, journalistic haze, I remember drafting vague questions one might ask of Cherubim. However, Backup Plan “B” was also set, as they might just kinda stand there sternly, and silently, doing angel-stuff. It was possible they might even not want to talk to me at all! In that case, the quest would be deemed solely a photoshoot… equipped with my beloved new Polaroid Instant Camera (pictures ready in 60 seconds) for official documentation, and as proof, to some of my friends who didn’t believe in angels.
Logic set my sights on funding needed for Eden, and my paltry allowance of 5 cents per week was futile. It had taken 5 whole months to save up for a 99 cent Troll Doll with fuzzy pink hair, and another whole 5 minutes for it to be stolen during school recess. But…. maybe I could flip our family’s backyard garage into an eatery, and call it the Spaghetti and Garlic Bread Only Restaurant?
Although its only existing entrance was a small crawl space, the redeeming structural solution of course, would be distracting decor. Pretty red and white checkered tablecloths were to be draped over splintered, wooden crate tables, to which the patrons could drag themselves. It was a no brainer, as they would be sitting on the floor anyway at their reserved crates. I made a mental note it might be good to pay attention to the dirt, broken glass, and rusty nails littering the floors.
At the venerable age of 9, I abruptly abandoned becoming a restauranteur, and strategized instead on becoming a secret agent.
It was absolutely crucial to acquire an ivory trench coat, and my enabling mother somehow found a child-sized one at the local Kmart – but not of the coveted colour. I stoically wore the khaki, while my best friend (the analyst) wore a bright kerchief (tied tightly at the nape of her neck) like some Hollywood diva. We spoke in clipped gibberish code to each other. Together, we practiced how to walk surreptitiously – as spies do – when accompanied with the blaring strains of the Pink Panther Theme. Annoyingly, the old record skipped sometimes, which compromised any graceful serpentining around front room furniture. A clandestine drop off (of a copper penny) transpired, and our brilliant asset successfully weighed down the stylus’ needle enough to arrest further hiccups.
Although I never led that wild child’s expedition to re-discover Eden’s geographical location, the interior of our church dome does contain the Tigris, Euphrates, Pison, and Gihon Rivers… depicted as water mosaics! They’re conveniently located above the mosaic lettering from Isaiah 25:9 (in English, ancient Greek, and Slavonic) Behold our God in Whom we hope and rejoice in our Salvation. That He may grant rest to this House.
We make our path by travelling it, and in hindsight, the paths worth travelling are bathed in the golden glow of the Great Artificer’s Light.
All treks and correctional detours have led me right here. Right now. Right where I should be.
Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. ~Psalm 25:4
The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God. ~ St. Isaac the Syrian (Homily 56, 89)