“All countries were beautiful to Mr. Rosen. He carried a country of his own in his mind, and was able to unfold it like a tent in any wilderness.”
-Willa Cather, “Old Mrs. Harris,” Obscure Destinies
The image captured me: an internal country, to be unfolded “like a tent in any wilderness.” Perhaps because I’ve unfolded such countries numerous times. I pondered the image while visiting a class of sixth graders today. They were writing sentences with their spelling words, and I decided that, had I the teaching of them, I’d assign them to write descriptions of the various countries they carry inside them. Those, I think, would be quite interesting to read.
But the image also caught me, I think, because it brushes against the idea that most places in this world are wildernesses; that we, “in whose heart are the highways to Zion” are those who, by the grace of Zion’s King, are able to see beautiful things in any country, to “make it a place of springs” (Psalm 84:5,6). By His grace
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;
the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;
it shall blossom abundantly
and shall rejoice with joy and singing.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
the majesty of our God.
To remember this gladdens me; I am glad.