Pale Shimmerings

When the world was a void, when a dome rose from the waters, when He formed a chasm in the land and filled the chasm with cool, green water from a stream—I am certain the Lord knew how much we would love this lake.

In the depths of this past winter, I dreamed about the day I would celebrate my 21st birthday at the lake of my childhood. How good is God that I would, after all, find myself there that day, beneath the bluest sky, scarcely a breeze to threaten the heat, with my loved ones. In all the world, it is the one place that will always be woven into the fabric of my life, because it will always be there to return to as long as I live (though its shoreline recedes or advances with the rain and the drought). At once, the lake—with its hot, orange beach; evergreen boundaries; placid, sunset surface; wraithlike loons that come and go; shabby playground and canteen—makes me impishly happy . . . even as it makes me achingly sad.

It is the pale shimmerings of Heaven. So beautiful but never quite what it should be, like the moon reflecting the sun’s blazing light. Ah, how to explain the tears that came as my father held me and I gazed upon the lake turning pink as the sun carved downward, a haven that few people have been blessed to know and love as we have, as I have. I grasp, knowing I can never hold. But I must grasp, because as I do, my fingers graze the veil that separates my true home from what is tangible now. And in this I remember that one day I will find myself swimming in the purest lakes man has never known—and loneliness becomes hope

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