There is a Rich Mullins song that begins like this: “And the moon is a sliver of silver. Like a shaving that fell on the floor of a Carpenter’s shop. Every house must have it’s builder. And I awoke in the house of God.”
“And I awoke in the house of God.”
I think of that last line a lot.
It is one of those phrases that comes to me and captures my reminiscing and washes stroke of light over some of the most beautiful moments I have experienced in this life. Moments in the house of God.
Most of these moments have been in spectacular places. Places that were new, adventurous, and beautiful. Because in these settings, one is usually removed from routine, stress, tasks...free to explore and experience.
My memories of awareness of waking in the house of God have been in different countries, at the tops of mountains, in ancient cathedrals and at the shores of stormy beaches. In my travels. In my time “away”. At rest. Removed.
Until last week. I have been following (or at least struggling and trying to follow) the Christian faith for fifteen years, and I cannot remember a single instance of stopping and knowing that “I awoke in the house of God” in my daily routine.
Maybe I have. But when I look back to try to remember, all that comes to me are the aforementioned spectacular moments.
I feel I must fight my memory- it are so intent on dwelling on the extreme. How can I train it to search and clear away the dazzling and instead dust off and cradle some of the more simple, feeble reminiscences of sitting in a quiet empty apartment or walking to the bus stop and knowing that I awoke in the house of God?
My days are spent trying to reason with stubborn, jaded teenagers. In the hours that I am not with the kids, I am in front of a computer or on the phone, doing my part to help keep our teen center afloat and functioning. I work hard at this, so that I may spend those precious hours each afternoon banging my head against a brick wall and trying to help 150 thirteen to nineteen year olds develop into productive members of society.
My moments of awe and wonder do tend to get buried under the overwhelming burden of discouragement and frustration that comes with hoping that these kids end up all right and that I am doing the best I can to help that happen.
But I found one last week.
We took the kids on a field trip. Always a very exhausting venture. We took 40 teens on a bus to downtown Boston to see a music performance from some of the local youth music programs, including three of their peers from our music program. They were loud (normal, so was everyone else). They were pretty obnoxious, yelling and talking when people were trying to make announcements (you can shhh and give the “I am not happy” face for a while, but eventually you sit down, roll your eyes, sigh, and wait for the event to end). Still, once the music started I was actually able to enjoy myself. As lights flashed and terrible teen rap thundered throughout the auditorium, I was able to laugh and smile as I looked around me at the teens going crazy.
And that is where I found a moment, a very fragile yet powerful second, where I stood and let my life and daily routine swirl around me and I took a quick breath and murmured that line of the song that so intrigues me.
And I awoke in the house of God.
It was a very strange place to find it.