I wander this wilderness with a guy named Ron. Ron’s job is to carry me, hammer me, bury me. Repeat.
Decades ago, a fella named Moz snatched me out of a box of freshly crafted brass buddies, and said, “Ron, I’ve got an important job for you. I want you to carry this tent peg. Can you handle that?”
“Well, sure, I guess,” said Ron.
“Don’t lose it,” Moz emphasized sternly.
“Yeah, of course, I got this,” replied Ron as Moz turned to hand a stunning, glorious lampstand to his cousin, Hiram. A lampstand hammered from a single piece of solid gold and meticulously crafted with six branches, three each extending on each side. Each branch bore a flower-like shape with buds and blossoms.
My journey started off okay. Ron would hammer me into the sand at just the right angle to attach a rope that kept one of many curtains suspended taut. The next day, he’d pry me up and we’d traverse a day’s journey, always led by a strange cloudy pillar, until Ron hammered me in again, up to my neck, maybe in soil, more often in sand.
I can’t understand why he places me in the same spot, third peg up from the Southeast corner.
“Hey Ron, a little variety around here maybe?”
Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months, and months slid into years. Constantly, third peg up from the Southeast corner.
The shine I once bore began to fade. Reality struck me like a strike from Ron’s hammer. I realized the cloudy pillar was leading us in circles!
I’d heard rumors we were going somewhere. Somewhere better. A sort of destiny. The stark reality was taking its toll not only on me, but I could feel its impact on Ron.
Our routine, once buoyant with hope and adventure, decayed into a million mundane moments.
Kindred questions, more like accusations or gripes, took shape in both Ron and me. Why can’t I be a stunning, valuable, honored golden lampstand attended daily with beautiful rhythms of care and attention involving oil, wicks and fire? Why not an ark holding cherished treasure? Or, why not a Seraphim guarding access to something special in those deep, secret places?
I heard Ron grumble, “Why can’t I be Hiram, carrying the precious lampstand, covered in handspun cloth from camp to camp? Or, why can’t I be a priest? A soldier?”
Ron’s hammerings, day after day, became more severe, more careless. I was slowly, methodically, changing in form; bent shaft, head misshapen.
Then one day, one glorious day, a day of epiphany!
Ron found our spot. Third peg up from the Southeast corner. As he plucked me from his leather satchel and gripped his hammer for the strike, a mysterious shadow enveloped us until we were blinded. All sense of time melted. We beheld things we couldn’t understand or put words to.
A small portion of the cloudy pillar had wafted over us, surrounded us, held us.
I don’t know if we were enveloped by this cloud for seconds or eons, but it was long enough for both Ron and me to remember something.
The piercing heat of the desert sun returned. The outstretched arm of the cloudy pillar retreated.
The routine resumed. The stooping, the hammering, the hooking of the curtain rope all transpired as usual.
But, for a brief moment, before the daily task was complete, Ron gazed at me, and I reflected a tiny glisten back to him.
Take a Deep Breath of Remember:
“Well Mr. Tent Peg,” Ron whispered, “We’ve got a calling. A glorious calling. Today we will hammer down a little piece of heaven on earth.”