19. Falling, Rising

3 February 2019, 18:03

A Voice Memo

It is six o’clock, oh-three, on Sunday, February third. I’m sitting on a carved-out stone—carved, flattened stone at a high point of Wat Pha Lat waterfall, west of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s about four miles from the old city. My Chrono says forty-eight minutes: that’s how long it took me to run slash walk-hike up to this point.

I walked around and took some photos of the temples and the sculptures, then I ventured down the waterfall to see if there was an actual waterfall; I found that there was not, that the waters must be low at this time. The rocks are metallic and shiny, my guess because of the components of the water that flows over them. There are many dogs here.

Venturing down the waterfall, I had two paths to take: the left, which had the water, and the right, which did not. Of course, I took the right, seeming the safer route. I took my right foot and lowered my butt to the stones, crawling like a backward crab. My left foot did not gain traction when it looked for a spot, and I slipped and lost all control. I slid down some slippery rocks for about ten feet before coming to a stop. I scraped my right knee, my right elbow, and my right forearm, but otherwise was unharmed. I am dirty and sweaty, and the sun is going down.


Ten minutes till sunset. I can see the city of Chiang Mai, the shopping mall where I worshipped this morning at The Gathering. The shopping mall where, in the basement, there is a food court. The shopping mall where I ate rice from The Brown Rice Ladies alongside a man named J. B.

I see a large airplane now—I saw it before I heard it—departing from Chiang Mai airport heading North, likely into China. This is my route, come Wednesday.

I thought about taking an oath. Today I read of Jacob and Laban and the covenant they made at Mizpah. A departure, a compromise, a peaceful end to a relationship fraught with deception and lies and theft.

There are five covenants made in the book of Genesis. I’m learning that covenants are often used to make peace because they require something of both parties. God uses covenants with Abraham and Noah and David, signifying the coming of Jesus, who would be the ultimate peacemaker. Isaac and Abraham both make covenants with Abimelech over land and boundaries. Jacob and Laban make a compromise over flocks and wealth and material things and family.

I thought about making an oath, about using this place as a witness between God and me, vertically. But what oath would I make? What oath can I make that I could ever keep? I am a mere man, made in the image of an Almighty God. I am small in this world, this vast world.

I’m sitting on a flattened, carved stone. There is water running about me, and it gets darker now. The wind begins to chill my skin, drying the dampness from that water from my fall. The hairs stick to the skin on my legs and my arm. It dries in my beard from when I splashed water on my face.

What oath could I make that I would keep? What covenant could I make that I would keep? What do I have to offer God that he does not already have? I offer my life. I offer yesterday, and today, and all the tomorrows stretching into eternity, into the end and the beginning of all things new and good and holy. I offer my life, as it is, as it will be.

I put the pen back in God’s hands. I want to obey. I want to hate autonomy. I want to need God and a relationship with his son—a right relationship born on the foundation of love and mercy and grace. I want to believe.

Purple is my favorite color; I see it now, mixed with blue and yellow and orange, and a very hazy sunset over the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I see green—I see a green God. I see serpents and Buddhas and idols and false gods. I see a bridge between them. God sees me; he is my witness in all things. I give him.

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