I’m parked at the end of our country lane, right by the Lee mailbox and a long row of hay bales, all of them draped in frost. I watch the sun rise right up over our fields, cutting a hole through the fog.
I’m surprised by the beauty. My two schoolgirls, in the backseat, gasp. I snap frame after frame while we wait for the schoolbus. I’ve learned something about mornings in Iowa: Always have your camera in the passenger seat.
You’d think the newness of an Iowa morning would have worn off by now. Shoot, I’m not even “new” here anymore. I grew up 100 miles from this spot, where you find me now. I was raised on sweet corn and simple prayers and county fairs and the luxury of wide open spaces. I’m as Iowan as a girl can get.
But for most of my life, I didn’t notice the magical, extravagant beauty of my own homeland. I had twice visited the Rocky Mountains as a child; now THAT was real beauty. I’d heard about other places: Iguacu Falls in South America, the great coral reef off the shore of Australia, the giant sequoias in California.
I lived in a land that everyone else called “fly-over country.”
And for a long time, this native Iowan agreed. I was determined to fly right over and outta here.
I’ve long had vision problems — missing the beauty right under my own two feet.
Growing up, I didn’t notice. Never batted an eye when the sun melted like orange sherbert over the fields in my backyard. Never looked twice when the grass sprouted a green, lush carpet under my bare toes. Only now do I remember that an early winter rain could turn our clothesline into a chandelier.
I didn’t notice the beauty of a whole lot of things — like, how death can be breathtaking. Have you ever seen the hopeful allure of a dying farmfield in October? Or the way a dead, wizened oak stands like a grand statue in silhouette, pointing a thousand different directions?
I saw boring, dusty roads that lead to nowhere and back again.
Maybe it takes a change of scenery to remember what you didn’t see the first time around.
I do remember when I told that farm boy that I’d never, ever, ever move back to rural Iowa with him. I remember crossing my arms across my chest, and digging my high-heels into those skyscraper dreams.
I also remember the day I had a change-of-heart; I was sitting on our bathroom floor with my arms cradling a swelling belly of new life. I don’t know who was more surprised when I told the farm boy that we should move back home.
I thought about that again this morning, out here snapping the sort of pictures that give a reborn Iowa girl a case of the God-Bumps.
Right out here, with a camera to my eye, I thought about the truth of the matter: If I look closely, the most beautiful place in the world can be the spot in which I’m standing.
It is an honor to seek after God with you as a part of our new God-Bumps & God-Incidences writing community each Wednesday. Want to join us again this week?
The “rules” for our community are pretty loose. You are invited to share any life moment — big or small — in which you sense God at work. Together, through this writing project, we are opening our soul-eyes to see the God-incidences unfolding, and the ”God-bumps” growing.
Your story can be a big moment, a God-incidence in which the Lord ordered events in a way that only He could do.
Or it can be a small snippet of life — a word-portrait, a pretty scene that you captured through your camera lens, a Bible verse that jumped fresh off the page, a story about a chance encounter that changed things.
No story is too unimportant. It’s all good. Because it’s all God.
Grace and peace to you, as you sense Jesus in your midst, my friend …
Add your link below, then include a button (found by clicking here) in your post, so we can find each other.