I’m sitting back in my chair on a misty cliff at 8000 feet, watching the clouds float between the hills below. We’ve just moved into our first temporary home in our mountain town—a one-room cottage in a guesthouse built 100 years ago. It’s been two weeks of travel, nomadic shifting from place to place, and no idea how long we’d float in limbo. We vigorously unpacked our bags like it’s our new “forever” home! Two weeks is not long at all compared to some families’ journeys, but I feel like I’ve been going about my days in a fog. Now that we’re semi-settled (for six weeks) and think we might know where we’ll be after that, there’s a glimmer at the end of the tunnel and I think I just might wake up tomorrow and ease myself out of the monsoon fog that rests on these mountains.
Monsoon has hung on longer this year. Several times in the last few days of hiking (just leaving the guesthouse to get to the road above is one lung-wrenching hike) we’ve been surprised by a downpour that soaks the bones. Then the humidity keeps us and our clothes damp.
It’s a whole new world of rocky paths and rainbows that burst up over mountains, unknown languages and welcoming faces, lessons in bartering, in observation, in discernment, in patience. Lessons in grace for myself and grace for my husband and son.
So many lessons and maybe that’s the exhausting, fog-filled part. I don’t know, and I’m not good at anything anymore. But we’ve spent the last couple days with friends who will be family, who have walked the road we are walking, or are walking it with us now. And that sense of “I am not alone in this overwhelming, scary, exciting endeavor” is incredibly comforting.
The clouds are on me now. They float up and through the fence now and onto the veranda like ghosts. Ghosts of a mountain town that knew the first spiritual awakening in this unreached region 60 years ago. A mountain town that has seen seeds planted and plucked up, blown away, and some seeds that have dug deep roots and grown big and strong.
It’s a sort of training ground for us and already our hearts are stirred, our comfort is gone along with all that is familiar, and our character is being refined. And on this journey to refinement we wake up each day to find others with hearts, like ours, hungry to know God up-close.
The call to prayer sounds out five times each day through the hills, there’s chanting from the open temple door in the winding market, and the Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags wave in the rain. The spiritual is all around, like the sitting clouds, and with each call or chant or fluttering flag I turn my heart to the Prince of Peace and He sits with me and leads me through the fog. I am struck by the fact that He is the same in these mountains as He was in the Midwest. He speaks peace when I sit down, sit still, and listen.
The rain has picked up again and falls fast on the tin roof. It has just lulled Little Man to sleep in his tent in the cottage, so I can slip back in and do some more settling in. Thankful for peace that comes whether we’re settled or not.