Darlene Osborne, Publisher
Your Place for Christian Articles
by Shelley Pierce
The people are everywhere. We pass each other and I nod my head in a "hello" sorta way. The nod is returned, along with a smile. My eyes are round and blue. Some have eyes that are mere slits. Others look back at me with oval, brown eyes. But the smiles.
The smiles are the same.
Our skin is not the same color. Some are onyx black, deep and beautiful. Others are hues of olive tones, earthy and rich. I scan the crowds and see white skin too. Milky white like me. Our skin is not all the same color.
But the smiles are the same.
I hear music. The tune is familiar but I do not understand the words as the olive skinned people sing. My lips hardly move and slight whispers escape; I sing along.
The trees are full of birds of every feather yet it seems they all sing the same song. I am free to walk the grounds and nod at strangers. I am free to take pictures of the thousands of flowers lining the walkway and filling the gardens. The flowers, every color in the palette, rest in beds of green. The sun turns its face towards them and the dew glimmers like diamonds on velvet. Their beauty is surpassed only by their fragrance.
I have traveled half way around the world for this walk. For this day. I found my place on a large rock on a hillside. The breeze blows past my face. I close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun kiss my forehead.
There is a lake nestled at the bottom of the mountain. Looking out, I watch the water as waves gently lap the shore. Tranquility. Beauty.
I have been here before. This is my fourth visit in 30 years. I am comfortable on "my" rock. The crystal blue sky meets the sparkling sapphire water; there is perfect peace.
I am free to cry. Free to exhale and weep with no fear of judgment.
I am free to rest. Free to put pain aside, forget stress, and simply rest.
I am free to dream. Free to envision all that is possible.
I am free to trust. Free to cast doubt over the side of the mountain, tumbling into the sea below.
In my heart, I hear blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called children of God.
This place is the Mount of the Beatitudes. The water nearby is the Sea of Galilee. Pilgrims from all over the world travel by the hundreds of thousands each year to walk where Jesus walked. They come here to sing hymns. They are here to meditate. Their Bibles are opened to study the words Jesus spoke, words we know as The Sermon on the Mount.
There's something amazing about feeling an incredibly safe aloneness while surrounded by many. In that safe aloneness I am content. What a glorious feeling! Contentment.
I have to wonder as I walk toward my car. The brown eyes, blue and green. The black skin, olive and white. The smiles that are all the same. Do all the people behind the smiles feel the same freedom here that is mine?
© Shelley Pierce