Wednesday, September 5, 2012
STANDING ON HOLY GROUND
Ground Zero, New York, NY
Peaceful Garden, Greensboro, NC
Four years after we met and were married, my young wife and I spent our honeymoon in and around the colorful Colorado Rocky Mountains and rushing river valleys. I still have a sharp memory of standing together early one morning at the rim of a deep gorge in the Mesa Verde high country. An eagle soared on the winds’ warm updraft and his call echoed off the cliffs. The ancients that had built the stone cliff dwellings in this gorge had mysteriously abandoned their village long ago. As we stood there in the shade of weathered pines and quietly listened to the wind singing in the needles and the great chasm below, we began to experience God’s presence around us. There was a keen sense of awe and inspiration that we were standing on holy ground in the midst of God’s magnificent creation.
Almost forty years later, my wife and I were in New York City in 2004 celebrating my birthday and we took a taxi to the recently cleared “ground zero” site. Our female taxi driver was on duty the morning of September 11, 2001 and soon afterwards. On our drive to the area, she respectfully shared her experience that day and of hearing pinging sounds coming from the destruction for weeks later. It is sound that she will never forget. We stood at the security fence quietly observing the stark area with a lone rusting iron cross that had been fashioned out of the rubble where almost 3,000 souls had perished. I took this photograph on my birth date of an inscription left by another pilgrim. We instinctively knew that we were standing on hallowed ground as we reverently read the heartfelt message.
Four years later, the two of us were sitting on a park bench near home viewing one of the most beautiful images I had ever captured in my camera lens. I had just wandered over to a Magnolia tree in the small garden park where we enjoyed walking together in the cool of the day. My wife was uncharacteristically tired on this morning after a rather severe chemo treatment, but we were both overwhelmed by the sense of peace and love this image gave us. We didn’t quite understand it at the time, but we were once again standing together on holy ground at that moment. Fifteen days later, I was standing with my family on holy ground as she was welcomed into His presence.
The experience of these holy present moments can be life changing.