Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind. Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
The rain patters softly upon the glass. I hug the hot mug with my hands. Steam rises from the cup. The aroma of columbian beans curling upward. I breath deep of it.
I long to get up. The urge to do, twitching in me. Still, I sit in the quiet and wait. I strain to listen through the clatter in my mind.
One fat Mama turkey with eleven turkey babies do the post Thanksgiving “turkey trot” across the golden field. Happy, not to have made the cut.
Christmas music plays softly in the background, a breath above a whisper. Decorations are slowly making their way into every nook and cranny in our humble little abode.
We had been home. Winding our way around the mountain road for Thanksgiving with my family. Around the bend near the top rested a bright full moon. So close, it seemed as if I stretched the teeniest little bit I could reach it with my fingertips.
My cup was full. Running over I would say, having been filled with love and laughter and time with family. Hugs from my sweet Mama.
Still, there was this thing I was longing for. It had been sitting there for a bit, festering. Gnawing on my soul. Rolling over and over in my mind.
A healing balm.
A balm that is more than just the mixture of oils, thanks to a precious one’s recommendation. Tenderly massaged into my pain. Tenderness that likens the humble washing of one’s feet. I picture a certain immoral woman in the book of Luke…as the oil warms and soothes.
When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he (Jesus) was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
Luke 7:37~38 NLT
I wanted to go back. Back to the place I believed to be where the sidewalk ended. There would be balm there, I knew. I had found it there before.
Eighteen years ago our business closed, our way of life gone. Our home sold. Fast. A job offer, seven hours from family.
A place where the dirt was rich and sandy. Where sweet onions grew. Below the “gnat line,” where chickens were a way of life. The. End. Of the sidewalk for me.
Or so I thought. I dug in. Did not want to go. I did.
I found a precious gift there. In the land of gnats, lizards, and rattlesnakes. The place I described as a quarter of a mile north of hell.
In the midst of the sandy soil, the lizards, the gnats, and the hot breeze; we moved into a house that sat beneath the shade of twenty~four pecan trees.
In the cool of the shade, my fragmented life slowly pieced itself together again. The God of invisible moments met us there. Readied us for the next wilderness place.
Over time I grew accustomed to the syrupy sweet tea, pronounced with no less than three to four syllables. Shorts and flip flops on Thanksgiving Day. A town small enough to ride my bike everywhere.
The community we quickly found beckoned us in. Treated us as family, one of them.
We fell in love. With our church, the people, the smallness and simplicity of life. Made lasting friendships.
We still call on those folks when the praying is hard and our needs overwhelm. They deliver in a mighty way.
I hear the hot breeze calling me there, soft and low, as I long for a healing balm with a frantic need.
I took from there a lesson on wilderness living. Finding contentment where it seems the sidewalk ends. Finding peace beneath the shade of a loving God.
It is in the hardest places, the sandiest pathways, God shows up. In small ways and big ways, in the invisible moments, the fragmented places in our life. Beneath the shade of twenty~four pecan trees.
And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
The wind has picked up now, blown out the rain and brought back the sun. The turkeys are back again.
There is healing balm here, as I sit beneath His shade, curled up in His arms. Imagine the hot breezes, the shade of the pecan trees, remember the precious gifts found where I once believed the sidewalk had ended. Where I found love and healing.
I will keep my eyes peeled, my heart open, for the gifts He will lay out for me on this sandy path.
“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Drown my will and bring peace to the war on the sea.”
Coming Clean~Seth Haines
Gifts of Grace