It was sunny and cool in the mountains of western New Mexico as I took my morning walk last August. I left the busy covered area where about a hundred family members had just finished a huge breakfast. I wanted a few minutes alone from the numerous conversations taking place and walked west up the slight incline of a small hill.
I passed the site where I spent hundreds of childhood hours playing in and around the corrals that have long since been torn down. On my left was the house I helped build as a teenage boy; the one which replaced the original house that had burned to the ground just weeks before.
I crested the hill and turned south. Off in the distance was the tall mountain where I went on my first hunting trip with my dad. Just in front of me was the depression of a dirt tank used to trap the rain water running down from higher ground. When the tank had plenty of water, the cattle used it as a watering hole. As children, we used it as a place to get muddy.
Step by step I walked around the original perimeter of that small ranch my grandparents had homesteaded back in the 1930s. They eked out a life on this little parcel of land that current generations use as a quiet escape from the pace of the "real world."
I know the hills and the low spots, the fence rows and the dirt roads. Yet, on these too infrequent trips back, I find myself walking. My walks are an amalgamation of long-held memories and the heightened sensory awareness of the tiny things that have changed. I notice the droppings of deer that roam the area. I see where old scrub cedar trees have died and fallen. Insects are everywhere, but primarily down in the soil.
It is in moments like these, that I reintroduce myself to the long familiar. I find that I often forget to look for the surprises when I walk the trail on a regular basis.
It's like that with Scripture. It's like that with Christmas. My attempts to climb inside the hearts and minds of the characters in the story are really my attempts to remember. But I want to remember with a fresh vision.
I want the old stories to be just as fresh as the new ones. "Innermost" is helping me do that. I hope it's helping you, too.
Tomorrow, we turn our attention to a girl who has just barely become a woman.