We’re nearing the end of our family vacation in Lake Tahoe. Today we’ll be lounging on the beach at Sand Harbor, should you come looking for us. No time for a new post, but here’s a post I wrote on my first visit, almost five years ago, when I came to do the first retreat with the ladies of Calvary Chapel Carson City.


Monday, September 4, 2006

I’ll get to the heart-view in a minute.

The eye-view was this: Mountains. High-altitude pines with a scattering of giant cones beneath each. Winding, rise-and-dip roads. Cedar and river rock-adorned shops–many with black bear statues frozen mid-climb along stairways or standing in guard-pose in parking lots. And that lake …

Nancy (my sister and assistant) and I took one mini tour from Carson City up along the north shore of the Nevada side on a quest for “Three Dog Knit,” a yarn shop in Tahoe City. Because she drove our rental, I was free to irritate her with outbursts of “Look at that!” as we hugged the lake.

“I can’t!” she’d burst back.

But I’d forget again by the time we turned the next corner and some other outburst-worthy sight would enter my vision.

I’ve seen rocks in water before … but never rocks so big they made the people standing on them look like Polly Pockets. You have to comment on a thing like that.

And though I’ve seen many lakes in my lifetime, there’s a particular beauty to this lake that renders you wordless at that same time that it fills you with a desire to speak. Nancy and I found our way to a lake-facing porch midway through the retreat. Our destination had been the gift shop attached to that porch, but when we turned the corner of the deck and saw a row of teakwood rockers facing the water, we forgot about shopping and instead claimed a rocker each and took to staring.

I flipped off my flip-flops so as to concentrate better, and tried to ignore the view of para-sailers and Sea-doers long enough to capture the right colors before me. For the leaves on the trees that adorned our side of the shore, I settled for honey and sage. For the water lapping below our feet, I could only think of emerald. It sounded lofty, but I soon discovered that someone else had settled on that word when they dubbed a portion of the far shore “Emerald Bay.”

Up close, it’s gem-green. Further out, it’s deep blue. And when a boat drifts into view lugging a primary colored hot air balloon and the people who will soon glide upward in it, you feel like you’re in an idealized painting come to life.

That’s the eye-beauty. And as if that weren’t enough food for our souls, God arranged a family reunion with women we’d never met before.

The women of Calvary Chapel Carson City are funny, sweet, noisy, and beautiful … just like the women at our church. Nancy and I felt at home immediately. Kelly, the pastor’s wife, is a kindred spirit. We even discovered that we both collect heart-shaped rocks (and her husband, Pat, found one for each of us before the weekend had ended).

Though it sounds cliche-ish, we laughed together; we cried together. But there’s something in that cliche. Between the sharing of laughter and tears, hearts open and bonds form. Strangers become sisters. Heaven becomes more real, because you know that whether or not your paths ever cross again on this side, you’ll have eternity together.

Almost as soon as the hellos and nice-to-meet-yous had faded, we were hugging good bye. As Nancy and I headed south for one loop around Lake Tahoe before turning for the airport in Reno, I replayed many of the conversations I’d shared with that group of women and thought about the vastness of this family I’ve been adopted into. What a gift the church is. It’s popular to criticize the Bride of Christ and point out all her flaws. But she’s beautiful to Him … and to me, too.


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[…] Ponderosa pine trees, a crunchy carpet of needles and Paul Bunyan-esque pinecones, a blue sky, and an emerald lake? Add to that a second-story balcony in a condo we were offered for free, and two weeks to dream, […]

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