repetitiveplaces

When my kids were little, we used to get out a pen, and measuring tape and open the door to the pantry.  The kids would excitedly back up against the door frame, put their heels against the wall and stand up straight.  I would then mark where the top of their head hit the frame and we would put their name and date to commemorate how much they had grown.   They used to love those days because it gave them a chance to see how much taller they had gotten since last time and I would sometimes catch them (in between measurings) opening the door themselves and trying to see where they were in relation to the past.

There is a place – a physical location – that is a “measuring frame” to me.  It is a cabin in Canada that my family has returned to year after year; it has become central to my God-story and a repetetive mile marker for each year of my life.  It is here, as a young girl, I heard the love song of The Creator as I maneuvered my paddleboard through the water under the weeping willow trees.  I felt Him in the warmth of the sun on the sand and knew echoes of His existence in the beauty I saw around me.

Each time I returned to this place, my relationship with Him was different – bigger (or smaller) – but the place became a kind of growth chart to me; a location of remembrance.

This place provides a sort of stability in my constant flux of change.  I know the smell of the place; my feet know the feel of the rough sand and the texture of the boards on the dock;  my ears know the chatter of the chipmunks to one another; my fingers know the feel of the rocky cliffs and my body knows the tingling chill of the lake water.  I know the sound of the rain and the lapping of the waves on the beach.  I know this place…it is a resting place;  it speaks the word “home” to me.

Now I bring my kids to this “repeating” place.  I watch them rub the clay from the lake all over their bodies like I did as a kid.  I watch them find summertime friends to swim out to the raft with and eat popsicles with.  They wear their bathing suits all day long and shower infrequently.

There is something to be said for locations of repetition.  They are the same – we know them – and yet we come to them a different person each year.  We are older, taller, more mature, struggling and sad or full of joy and peace.  But it is a place that though I spin and whirl through life, it remains a still center point – a place of the constant.

In this place I can rest; I can find peace; I can assess a year or a decade of my life; I can hear new whispers of God that sing in harmony with the old – all the notes find their proper place and duration.  And it is a place I can compare who I am today with who I was last year…how I see God today with how I saw Him last year.

Locations of repetition…I need them.  I think my children need them.  Like the door frame marked with the heights of our children on incramemental dates, repetition gives us a view of how much we’ve grown since the last time.  It is a place where I can mark out and measure the faithfulness of God.

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