There were many people, events and concepts which impacted me at this year’s conference. However the skies over Ghost Ranch held the greatest impact because of what it represented. The weather was outstanding, just a little colder than last year, but still very doable. Thursday afternoon there were some clouds and a few snow flurries. Otherwise, it was this deep blue color.
Several times between sessions I would pass someone who said how’s it going. I responded “I’m trying to describe this sky.” I walked around all week looking up. It wasn’t just the color, there was a depth to it as though you could almost separate each hue of color. And there was the clarity. Every piece of landscape posed against it was magnified to show each leaf and twig. Over and over I asked, “how do I describe this sky?”
On the way back to the ranch Saturday morning, a phrase from Revelations came to mind, “like a glassy sea.” It makes sense doesn’t it; God’s sea could be our sky? Back at the conference I wrote the following just in time to get it into the conference’s daily newsletter.
The Skies of Ghost Ranch
The door to heaven opened this morning.
And the sky before me was like
a glass sea bringing each detail
of the landscape into crystal clarity,
And the rays of the sun mixed with the glassy sky as fire.
The light covered me, and I know, standing firm, I will stand victorious before your throne surrounded not by reflections, but the true splendor of Your Presence.
Rev 4:16, 15:2
Still, I couldn’t quite let go and thought about it all day Sunday as I drove. Why did the sky grip me this year? After all it was the same sky as last year. I’ve looked at last year’s photos and it is the same sky. The qualities I am writing about can’t be captured in a photo. Then I realized last year I hadn’t read Mary DeMuth’s memoir, Thin Places.
Mary says “Thin places are snatches of holy ground, tucked into the corners of our world, where we might just catch a glimpse of eternity. They are aha moments, the beautiful realizations.”
Being at the ranch this year was a “thin place” for me. From my past experience, I came expecting to find God, and I did. My takeaways were not what I would have imagined. (I tried coming without preconceived notions, knowing this would be true.)
A positive takeaway concerned my home. I’ve been fighting an internal battle over my decision to move to this house a decade ago was on my terms, not God’s. I had a strong confirmation of this property being central to my creative process.
I had not planned on being confronted by my fears, but I was at every turning. My Pathways’ friends will recognize this theme for me. I wish I could tell you I faced them, and they are behind me. During the past few years the Rascal Flatts’ song, I’m moving on, is one I claim. Oh, how I long to be able to claim the first line, “I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons.” Let’s say for the moment, I have acknowledged my fears, and the deepest of which is my fear to be who God made me to be.
So, it was in one of the thin places of my life that God’s Spirit revealed these fears to me when He was the closest.
The good news is my skies back at home have a more translucent quality than before for me.
(By the way, Rascal Flatts has a new album out this week.)