Monday, August 29, 2011

The Highground.

In Exodus 3, Moses was out in the desert and God spoke to him from within a bush that burned, but didn't burn up.   God spoke to him.  And Moses was instructed to take off his shoes, because he was on holy ground.

I grew up believing that if God was speaking to people (or a person) somewhere, that place became holy ground.  It wasn't the fact that there was a burning bush, it wasn't the miraculous lack of consumption in the fire, it wasn't even the fact that God was there - because God is everywhere.  It was the fact that God was deliberately revealing Himself and speaking to Moses

Saturday, we chose to skip our planned trip to the zoo, and we instead visited a couple veterans memorials.  The first was what I expected - lots of plaques, statues, a tank, a jet.  Those things are sort of... standard.  They are important.  They are meaningful.  And I really, genuinely enjoy going to them.  And I feel honored, and privileged, and so incredibly thankful for all that's been done on our behalf.  We took a lot of pictures for a project we are doing, and spent some time reading the plaques and some time being silent in respect and in memory of what had to be done to purchase our freedom here in the United States.

Then we started driving to the second one. 

As we slowed to turn off the highway, there was something very... different about it.  It felt... well, it felt special.  Spiritual, even.  I was very strongly impressed, inside, to not wear my shoes.

I walked barefoot down the walkway.  It was paved with square stones, each bearing the name of someone who had served our country, who had given the ultimate sacrifice.  I could feel the heat of the sun in each stone.  And I read the names.  All of them.  And the heavy, serious, "God is here" feeling stayed, and grew stronger still.

At one end of the memorial is the memorial that is pictured here:

What you can't see in this picture, is what that memorial was truly like to stand before. 

I don't know if you've spent a lot of time around statues that generate tears in the people who view them, but I have.  Tears leave salt rings after they dry.  Sometimes people will wipe the tears away with their hands, and leave a white-rimmed hand print.  It washes away as soon as it gets wet, but for just a while, it stays.  This memorial, had tear rings.  It had a hand print on the side of one of the faces, faint.  And then I noticed... the dog tags.  The dog tags were hanging off the soldiers' hands, they were around their necks, they were suspended with the many metal rods bearing the names of fallen soldiers.

And it hit me, hard and fast.  The "different feeling" and the fact that I couldn't get myself to wear my shoes, and the sadness and peace that were both prevalent... this was holy ground.  Here, at this memorial, God speaks to people.  Hurting, broken people go there and He ministers hope to them.  He ministers life.  They leave dog tags, they leave watches and medals, and with these little bits of material, they lay down some of their grief.  Because God meets them there, and he takes some of their grief, and gives them what they desperately need. 

During the time we spent there, I found myself in tears.  The changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier is more emotional.  The rows and rows and rows of silent, white crosses in Arlington cemetery are more somber and are enough to drive me to my knees.

But they are the closest things I've ever felt, to what was at the Highground on Saturday.  I read the names on the dog tags.  I saw the medals hanging among the chimes.  I saw the picture propped by one of the statues, with the words "I miss you and I will always love you" on it.  I did not photograph that picture. 

My words are failing me tonight.  Failing me miserably.

The gist of it all is this:  I went to the Highground.  It is a place where God meets people.  It is holy ground.  And it is truly a beautiful, sad place... and also a place of evident hope and faith.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments: