A Visit Back to That Special Place
A week ago, I was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, preparing to travel back home after a long weekend of equipping pastors and church planters. First, though, I was up early for a three-mile hike around Tubbs Hill downtown. My friend Scott had planted a church in Coeur d’Alene a number of years ago and was making sure our entourage saw the best of the city on this, his first return to that part of Idaho since being called back to Mississippi. For this early morning hike, however, it was just the two of us.
We stopped several times along the way to admire the scenery. We talked about our lives and the pending “only child” status of both of our homes as our older kids go to school and work. Suddenly, he became very quiet as he stopped in a clearing overlooking a cozy spot down a path in front of us. He teared up and said, “You have no idea the number of times God spoke to me in that very spot.” This was a special place he had not visited in over seven years.
My Special Place or Three
On the plane ride home later that day, I thought back to Scott’s special place. A song reminded me of a special place of my own. I continued to recall other places where the Lord had spoken specifically to me, holy places, if you will. And just as Scott shared his special place with me, I want to share a few of mine with you:
- Out on a Pier: There is a certain pier on San Pedro Island off the coast of Belize, Central America, where God gave me a very unexpected object lesson about walking with Him. Sunrise over the Caribbean is special enough in its own right but even more so when the Creator of that sunrise and that sea spoke in that still small voice inside of me.
- Out on a Ledge: At a high ropes course in Arkansas, on the edge of a platform high among the trees, God prompted me to take a literal “leap of faith” in preparation for the biggest life change I had encountered to that point in my life a couple of years later. (Read that full story in my book Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life).
- Up on a Roof: On the flat concrete roof of a children’s home in Jacmel, Haiti, I realized that I had been so busy for so long that I had not stopped to think beyond the necessary in many months. During that week life slowed considerably up on that roof, and I gained a clarity that had been missing for far too long. The sunrises were cool and peaceful, the sunsets were stunningly beautiful, and the evenings were a world away up on that roof. The children have now moved into a new, more permanent home that I had a hand in building. The last time I was there, though, we passed the old house, and–just like with Scott on Tubbs Hill–the emotions of what God spoke to me in that special place came flooding back.
I have other special places, but we’ll stop our tour there. Where is your special place? Have you ever been overcome with emotion when you returned there?
About Al Ainsworth
Al Ainsworth is a values storyteller. He works with individuals, businesses, churches, and other organizations to pass along their values through the stories they tell…and re-tell. Al is the author of Lines in the Gravel (and 52 Other Re-Told Childhood Tales), Stories from the Roller Coaster (of a Faith Life), and Coach Dave: Season One. Subscribe to his email list for more values storying.