My 30 Day Non-Facebook Prose-Instead-of-Pictures Challenge has taken much more than 30 days. The problem is that today's challenge threw me for a loop. Day 19's challenge is:
19.A picture and a letter
A letter? As in a letter of the alphabet? Or a letter to someone? Let's go for the latter. But... Whom to write, that is the question. Whom I wanted to write isn't the problem. It's what to say and how to say it to that person. All because I wanted a free lunch a few weeks ago at work.
A non-denominational Christian group held a meeting and gave a box lunch to attendees. While waiting for the keynote speaker, the group's organizer passed the time by asking the audience two questions:
1. If you were to die tonight, do you know whether you would go to Heaven?
He then proceeded to tell us that only those people who accept Christ as their personal savior would go to Heaven. And that it all depended on your belief in Christ, not in your actions.
The very first thought in my mind was, "Really? So Gandhi is in Hell but there was a chance that Hitler could be in Heaven?" My spiritual beliefs were so shaken, rather than reaffirmed as the organizer had intended for his audience, that upon returning to my office I immediately emailed my priest. He emailed back, offered to come to my office later that week, and have lunch with me to talk. During our lunch conversation, he recommended three books.
Now, halfway through my summer religious reading list, I am ready to write my letter.
"Are you there, God? It's me, Gaelic.
"I'm home again. I truly believe that You use the land of my ancestors to call me home. Whether it's all the way back to my Scottish roots, or just my recent ancestors in the Appalachian Mountains. It's like I'm the hillbilly Scarlett O'Hara. 'Katie Scarlett O'Gaelic, you get your strength from the green mountains of Caledonia.'
"And when I return to those mountains, I find You waiting for me. 'Welcome home,' You say with the towering peaks and winding streams. I find You in a friend's warm embrace in North Carolina. I hear Your comfort in snippets of songs that float on the warm air. '...and if our backs should ever be against the wall, We'll be together...'
"Or the cool air of a summer day, feeling so alive. And again with the music. 'I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky' or 'Deep greens and blues are the colors I choose'. You are all around. In everything. The sound of songs and mountains streams, the feel of the night closing around me, the taste of fresh-caught trout or newly-made candy, the smell of hickory fires on August nights, the sight of the low-lying clouds as if the mountains exhaled their warm breath onto the cool morning air.
"Even though You are with me wherever I go, I never feel more alive, more at peace, more joyful than when I return to the mountains that You made my home. Call me home. Then send me forth. I am refreshed."
And if you believe that Gandhi is in Hell because he died a Hindu, the three books on my summer religious reading list are:
The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis
Love Wins, by Rob Bell
The Politics of Jesus, by Obery M. Hendricks Jr.
[Title taken from this.]