To some, November’s a depressing month, when nature dulls down. Trees stand leafless, naked until snow blankets their branches. Days shorten, darkness lengthens. How wise, President Lincoln, to declare a day of Thanksgiving, to interrupt the bleakness with reminders of blessings.
The older I get, the more I appreciate and learn from the slower, muted times in seasons, in me. As several of you know, this is the month Jud died. It’s also the month our daughter was born. Two ends of this marvelous spectrum called Life on this earth, our dash.
Margot, a friend, gave me a book she thought I’d like. She was right: An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor. Early in the book, Taylor writes of Jacob and his encounter with God after he fled from Esau, the brother he tricked out of his blessing. The author goes on to retell the story of Jacob and his dream, “a ladder set up on the earth, with the top of it reaching to heaven and the angels of God ascending and descending it like bright-winged ants. Then, all of a sudden, God was there beside Jacob, without a single trumpet for warning.”
When Jacob awoke, he declares, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I was not aware of it.” (Genesis 28:16 NIV)
In darker times, I find myself reflecting on one of the author’s questions, “What if God can drop a ladder absolutely anywhere?”
I remember singing around campfires a solemn, “We are climbing Jacob’s ladder” but this scene in Genesis sets me to wondering about times God’s been making His way down that ladder to me, not the other way ’round. The author nudges me to look for the ladder marks in my life.
So many moments, when God’s shown up, but often, only when looking back, have I sensed “Surely the Lord was in this place and I did not know it.”
To all of you who’ve been part of God’s ladder to me, to Jud, our family, Thank you. You’ve been part of God’s Net, encouraging us to take leaps of faith into the dark unknown, finding God’s enough.
On this Thanksgiving morning, I pray for God’s blessings to come to and through you, for the possibility of a ladder appearing when God seems nowhere to be found, and if all else fails, two kinds of pie.
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