A Resort at Dawn

newton-vineyardsAscribe to the Lord, you gods, *
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.

2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.

4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.

9 And in the temple of the Lord *
all are crying, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.

11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

–Psalm 29, NRSV

In the wee hours of the night, the mind tends to wander.

I’m writing these blog posts mostly in the spare time I have as a night auditor at a resort in Napa, California. Rest assured, I get my work done efficiently and well, and one of the upsides is that this particular job affords me time to read, study, and most of all, write. I jokingly call myself a Vampire Hotelier on twitter because some days, it truly feels like I am a vampire. My nights and my days are interchangeable at times. It gets dizzying during the school year when I’m switching between day schedules and night schedules.

There’s a magical span of time, around 4-5am, when things get extremely calm. I frequently feel like time stops. I used to get sleepy then, but nowadays I’m well stocked with instant coffee and teabags to keep away the sleepiness. But still, the magic hours get rough, especially after a 5 day run at the hotel.

But then, around 6:45 these days, dawn breaks. The fog begins to separate. Fresh dew descends upon the fields, and shine as the first rays of sunlight shine upon the resort’s vineyards. And ringing in my ears come the words of this song of praise.

In the silence, the booming voice of creation can be heard. Life erupts as a whisper in the fields, the hills and the running waters of the bay. Before the rest of the world wakes up, before the hills are abuzz with the cars of the morning commute, I get to commune in the cold, glimmering dawn, and hear the voice of God.

Few jobs can offer you the chance to hear God each morning. Fewer still can do so in such beautiful environs. When DeSay and I started dating, we often talked of travel, and our future. We dreamed about where to take a honeymoon, and I sheepishly confessed that I’d dreamed of doing it in San Francisco. Of course, her being from Sonoma and the bay area of California, this led her to laugh–we wound up going there within our first six months together to celebrate her birthday. I still remember our drive from the airport to the Sonoma hills, in the darkling haze of midnight. My face was pressed against the car window, drinking in the vast, looming shapes of the hills and cliffs that surround San Francisco. Even in darkness, I’d never been someplace so beautiful, so obviously shaped by the hands of God.

Now, I enjoy it every morning.

God sent me out here to California for a reason, that much is obvious. Things would not have fallen together so neatly out here otherwise. I was accepted at an institution that welcomed by unique interests. We were surrounded by loving and supportive family, helping us get a new, fresh start. Within a few months, I was able to find this job that suited my unique situation. God ordained it that we be here.

And to remind me, each morning, I see the divinely shaped hills, and witness the glorious dawn.

I hear the silent roar of God’s voice.

About grantimusmax

Grant Barnes, aka Grantimus Maximus, aka The Nerdcore Theologian. Currently, he is a PhD Candidate at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, California. He is a graduate of Perkins School of Theology with a Masters Degree in Divinity. He graduated from Texas State University Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in English, minor in History. He watches way too many movies, reads too many books, listens to too much music, and plays too many video games to ever join the mundane reality people claim is the "Real World." He rejects your reality, and replaces it with a vision of what could be, a better one, shaped by his love for God.
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