“For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.”
That was my reading this morning, and it struck a note with me. Perhaps a chord was struck as well.
I like to travel. Wander, really, is what I like to do. Anywhere, anytime. And so when I read this Psalm, and then glanced at the article on mentalfloss.com, it was a chord that was struck. Harmonious, lovely, a kind of in-between offbeat sound, maybe it was a Phrygian chord progression of some kind.
The writer speaks of being in the courts of the LORD, the temple courts, of course, because at the time that was the locus of the Divine. And the writer says that being in the presence of the Divine for even one day is better than a thousand days anywhere else. And he adds that he’d prefer being a doorman there at the entrance to living in a nomadic or Bedouin tent among the wicked.
Then he adds that the LORD is a sun and a shield. The implication is that it is a shield from the sun, i.e. shade. This is not a stretch and I am not taking liberties to get that shade in there . . . He says that “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ”
That brings my mind around again to wandering, traveling, even walking along one street or trail or path in the forest, or flying across the planet as in a dream, or sailing into a certain port for the first time. The LORD has declared now, in these times, that he is present everywhere. The temple is no more, and the locus of the LORD is anywhere his Spirit is. This is the same Spirit that hovered over the deep at the beginning and now roams freely and wildly in all places at all times. Anywhere we may go, anywhere we may wish to go, dream to go, the LORD is there already, even as he is with us now. Whenever and wherever we may be, HE IS.
Knowing that and believing it too, and living in it and walking around in it is such joy!
So, take a look at some of those “30 words every traveler should know” and which ones strike a note or chord with you?
Here are my choices:
FLÂNEUR, #15 . . . “this word describes someone who has no particular plans or place they need to be. They merely stroll around the city at a leisurely pace, taking in the sights and enjoying the day as it unfolds.”
YŪGEN, #18 . . . “graceful elegance” or “subtle mystery,” but it’s much more than that. It’s when the beauty of the universe is felt most profoundly, awakening an emotional response that goes beyond words.”
COMMUOVERE, #20 . . . “the feeling of being moved, touched, or stirred by something you witness or experience.”
SMULTRONSTÄLLE, #23 . . . “This Swedish word translates to something along the lines of “place of wild strawberries,” and refers to those semi-secret places you return to time and time again because they’re special and personal to you.”
LEHITKALEV, #26 . . . “The Hebrew word lehitkalev translates to “dog it” and means to deal with uncomfortable living or travel arrangements.”
TROUVAILLE, #29 . . . “a “lucky find,” this French word can be applied to that cool cafe, flower-lined street, or quirky craft store that you stumbled upon by chance.”
All of these words evoke a hopeful joy in the midst of mystery and the unknown, and I embrace it all, knowing that our LORD is with us, as we wander in wonder . . .
Photograph “I actually saw this today in Milwaukie, OR, half buried in some shrubs, a trouvaille indeed.” © 2018 Timothy Waugh