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Love among the ruins

Love among the ruins

My phone, apparently suffering from jet lag, reminds me to notice as I’m sitting on a train at 2:18, on my way to a castle. But it’s no ordinary ruin. I expect to unearth memories.

Forty six years ago, during a summer my family lived outside Frankfurt, my older brother and I regularly hiked to the ruins of Burg Konigstein. We’d explore a bit then I’d sit with my sketchbook and draw the weathered stone structures. Today, I am determined to do it one more time.

I arrive and walk the encircling path, ending in the familiar courtyard. Immediately, I see the round stone platform I used as a vantage point. Climbing up, I sit on the cold stone and begin to draw.

My heart is brimming with pleasure. It’s not just the reconnecting to a pivotal point in my life. It’s that God has brought me back, giving me a corporate gig in Frankfurt, providing a young woman in the train station to help me secure the ticket, guiding me through unfamiliar streets. I imagine (sense through the Spirit?) his pleasure mingling with mine. How kind God is to celebrate this with me.

On my last, loving stroll amid the ruins, I notice something new. A cross has been fastened to a rampart. It is a confirmation of what I already knew: Christ, who loves me even down to my teenage milestones, is present here.

Lord, as you view all of time in one glance, how could you see and remember something so small as my moment a paltry half-century ago? And you do, because your great love is not a dispassionate, removed, academic fact. Your love is a deep, enveloping commitment to us. You love down to the details.


Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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