“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:1-2
I’m fresh back to Texas after a twelve-hour drive from my former home in Denver, Colorado. I’ve lived in Denver for three years, and after spending both my undergraduate and seminary years in flat and dusty west Texas, Colorado took some getting used to. Shoveling snow, frozen nostrils, summer weather that was pleasant to be out in—it was all new for me.
Living near mountains was new for me also. For the first time in my life, I was good at directions. In Denver the mountains are to the west. I would get turned around, but if I could orient myself to the mountains, I could sort it out. Once I knew which way was west, I could figure out where I was and where I wanted to go. Even when I was in a part of town where I couldn’t see the mountains, such as downtown amidst the skyscrapers, I somehow learned to intuit where the mountains were. After three years in Denver, the mountains were an ever-present part of my daily life.
As I’m now back in mountainless Texas, crisscrossing a city where construction and development jumble any sense of direction I can muster, I miss the reliable mountains in the western sky. The only kind of mountains I seem to encounter are the mountains of boxes and paperwork that need to be sorted and filled out and donated and shredded. It’s disorienting. On top of that, by the time you are reading this blog, I will be living in the capital of Cambodia with my life surely turned completely upside down.
Hulking, steady mountains in the distance—Where are you?
Yet, as I meditate on the first part of Psalm 121, I’m reminded of what does orient our lives. I’m reminded of the ever-present one in our stories, the one who defines the landscapes of our lives. I’m reminded that no matter if we are in Colorado or Texas or Cambodia, our place comes from the creator, the maker of all we see and know. Looking to God orients us.
Our God, steady and unchanging, shows us where we are and where we are headed. My prayer for us on this first Monday in November is that whether or not we can feel it our see it from where we stand, we know that our help comes from the Lord.