Sunday, April 27, 2014

Psalm 121

After I was accepted into La Verne College (now University of La Verne) in 1972, I gleefully marked off each calendar day until mid-September, because I felt like I couldn't get out of Burbank fast enough--or far enough. That day Mom and Dad packed my stuff and me into the back of the 1971 VW, and we headed to the freeway onramp, I waved ecstatically from the back window to some kid standing on the corner. I remember he looked somewhat bemused, but he returned the wave nonetheless.

And yet, here I am, back in Burbank again since 1988, and in no rush to consider leaving again.

Lately, with the challenges of caring for Mom, who is now slipping away from me a little bit more each hour with her physical frailty and dementia, I treasure the very safe idea of home -- this house, this community of Burbank, even the foothills behind Sunset Canyon and Brand Park. When we moved here in 1964 from upstate New York, I was fascinated with the hills as a geological formation, and tagged along with my father up at the De Bell Golf Course, or my "big brudda" to Stough Park.

Decades later, as a single mom, I took every opportunity to hike with my young son behind Brand Park, and didn't mind when my car's back seat acquired a messy payload of sticks, pine cones, or other souvenirs from nature.

Now, with family responsibilities and work demands, I find the hills calling to me again. The other day, after Mom's faithful caregiver arrived, I seized the precious hour's time before my first client, and escaped to the Canyon Grille at the golf course for breakfast. The early morning sun...the quiet...the rolling green of the course outside the sliding glass doors, already open to allow the birdsong to waft in...

No matter how much I chafed against Burbank and its hills as an adolescent, they were still here, waiting for me when I was ready to return home. When competing appointments, cell phone calls, health issues, mounting projects and household tasks seem to bury me, the hills are always there, waiting. In the Sixties, many called places like this "Nature's Church," and I'm more inclined to agree as time passes. These foothills are where you're likely to find me these days when things in town get a bit too much...

I recognize and respect that readers of my blog have diverse spiritual beliefs; nevertheless, for those who will accept it, I offer the following as a calming thought for today, and every day hereon:

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore." -- Psalm 121

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