Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hinds' Feet on High Places

The helicopter makes a slow turn to put its nose to the wind. The mountain ridge rises to meet us as our pilot gently sets his skids on the mossy turf.

We aren't the first ones to visit the mountain top, as evidenced by the narrow trail up the ridge to the summit and the piles of mountain sheep scat scattered liberally about. I stay a safe distance back from the cliffs where these sheep make their home. Pellets of sleet strike my cheeks. The wind whips the ends of my hair that stick out from below the borrowed stocking cap.

It's our chance to say good-bye again, and to say it in style. It is another gift Mom left us, this hairbrained plot to lay her to rest atop the mountain she'd looked at from the valley floor for so many years. Somehow, from beyond the grave, she still pulls enough strings in the family to get her three children and beloved husband to gather on a mountain top... not for her, but for us. She always loved creating memories.

Two passages come to mind as we huddle on that ridge. The first one, Psalm 121, reminds me that when we lift our eyes to the hills, though we'll think of Mom, our real help comes from the maker of heaven, earth, mountains, and glaciers. The second seems so antiquated--like hind's feet on high places--but at the same time so appropriate. This mountain is an inhospitable place, yet the mountain sheep are at home, comfortable grazing on precarious cliffs. The passage eludes me, tendrils of phrases sliding through my consciousness.

We hug and cry and hug some more. The helicopter returns for us.

Hinds feet... hinds feet... the words tickle, begging me to hunt for them. It takes a few tries, but at last I find them. They are David's words, as many of the beautiful ones are. They bring me comfort to know that God, my rock, readies my feet for the walk ahead and takes me to heights I never imagined.

As for God, his way is perfect: The word of Jehovah is tried; His is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him. For who is God, save Jehovah? And who is a rock, save our God? God is my strong fortress; and he guideth the perfect in his way. He maketh his feet like hinds' feet, And setteth me upon my high places. (2 Samuel 22:31-34)