Monday, October 11, 2010


It’s midnight in the Kootenays. As I write this, I sit in our son’s above-garage apartment, perched high above Windermere Lake. Thinking.

A train whistles slow beneath me and the moon rests cozy on the sky, like a silver coin on dark velvet. Across the water, mountain shapes loom black, and the small lights of Windermere fringe the shore.

Unlike earlier today, stillness surrounds the apartment. This afternoon whitecaps dotted the lake. Yesterday I noticed a sailboat and windsurfer below. No sails challenged today’s wind—it rushed through like the CP train on the tracks below—loud, determined, and powerful. Neighbouring pines swayed a good deal south, and an aloe plant on the sill of the open kitchen window toppled into the sink.

Bears—black and grizzly—frequent the nearby woods. Earlier this year, our son had an encounter with a black one. It had hopped up onto the box of his truck to fetch his garbage, which he’d placed there only moments before. He chased it a good deal up the driveway before his landlord shouted from the house below that he’d left its mother and sibling behind.

I often walk in the woods, surrounding the various homes our boy has lived in near here. But no, I won’t go down to the woods today. Or tomorrow. Or anytime this season. The bears have picnics in the fall, that’s why. They raid gardens, fattening up for coming winter. Trail travel is not recommended for the likes of city me. I have plenty of fat they could have, mind you. I’d gladly offer them that—it’s the getting-it-out-of-me part I find troubling.

Deep thoughts come easy here in the Kootenays. High ponderings. The size of God. And how vast his love must be if it’s truly higher than these mountains, deeper than this lake, and wider than this sky.

I began reading the book of Job this morning. The first verse is one of the most disturbing in all of scripture, I told my husband later. Job feared God and shunned evil. Did everything right, it seems. And yet...and yet...God allowed devastation to slice his life. For what? To prove a point?

Doesn’t seem fair to me. But then, the desire for life to be fair vanished with my pimples, decades ago. It’s also not fair that despite my numerous sins, inadequacies, and failings, I’m here. To enjoy the moon spilling a milky way over dark water. To listen to the rhythmic breaths of my husband on the bed beside me. To rejoice in the company of a dear son, spared many times from disasters that have killed others. To anticipate, with breathtaking audacity, something more, greater, better, than the best of moments here. Heaven. Because of Christ.

I ponder, but will never understand, God. I sit in the dark and am. Still. Grateful for the mystery.

Grateful, period.
Kathleen Gibson, faith and life columnist,
author of Practice by Practice, The Art of Everyday Faith


Peter Black said...

Poetic and poignant, Kathleen.
Your wonderful descriptions transported me to the very place, to witness the scenes.
Hmm. But chasing a bear? -- No thanks!

Glynis said...

Lovely word painting, Kathleen. You transported me and reminded me Who is in control. :)

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