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Ghost Town Hearts

Updated: Sep 17, 2022

My parents and I had spent a few beautiful days in the Rockies of Colorado. From every angle my senses should have been wowed by beauty. I should have felt restored as people often do when surrounded by God’s beauty, but I wasn’t. After the long chain of events that had unfolded recently in my life, my heart still felt heavy. There were good and bad days. Some weeks would fly by, I would feel on top of the world and joy, forgiveness and healing came easy. Then there were some days when the feelings of hurt and sadness overwhelmed me and my brain’s ability to talk sense into it.

It wasn’t a good day. I’m not sure why our feelings have to ebb and flow, but they do and sometimes not at the most convenient times, like a wonderful family vacation to Colorado. After dinner one night, we drove out in a light rain towards a ghost town. The clouds were gloomy and I finally felt peace that the world outside might have been catching up to what I was feeling inside. It was a long windy road that finally led us to a valley etched into the side of a massive Colorado cliff. We got out and what I once might have called spooky or depressing was the most inviting sight to me.

The chill in the air and light rain that was slowly drenching my hair and exposed legs didn’t even phase me. There in front of me stood dark, gloomy, abandon structures rooted eternally into the knee high grass and magnificent wildflowers. So much seemingly sadness existing in the middle of beauty. It was my own heart, displayed right in front of me.

I walked along the abandoned buildings marveling at how something that looked like despair could feel so comforting. My life was full of so many wildflowers, abundant streams, good and beautiful things, but my heart, like the buildings couldn’t keep pace with it.

As the story of the ghost town, Ashcroft, unfolded on the signs in front of me, so did the state of my heart and what God was doing in it. Ashcroft used to be a booming mining town that evaporated quickly when it couldn’t support all the people who had flocked there. It was gone as quickly as it had sprung up, the silver mines too shallow to support it. But there were people who loved this little town. There were people who stayed and kept life in it and people who fought for its life after the last person who card for it passed on. There were people who believed the ghost town was worth fighting for and not to make it beautiful again, but to simply protect it, preserve it.

My heart had seen it’s heyday and maybe my joy was too shallow and God was teaching me to find a deeper joy, but I knew in that moment that God was fighting for the ghost town that was my heart. While He always has plans of restoration for my heart, He wasn’t focused on that, in the moment I felt He was simply preserving it, sustaining me day by day, through the pain and heartache that ebbed and flowed. He was protecting it because unlike the ghost town, I know my heart will be a vibrant place again, this time with deeper pockets, more sustaining of a longer lasting joy that comes with an eternal hope of a God who adores our abandoned little ghost town hearts.

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