Monday, July 14, 2008


Norah and her dad sit for a drink and a short rest on a big rock during one of our hikes.

We just returned from our annual camping trip. I squashed more bugs this trip than I ever remember. Norah got so used to the "daddy long leggers" crawling everywhere, she would basically brush them off her arms by the end of the week. (My brother and sister and I called them "Grand Daddy Long Legs" when we were young, since we only ever saw them when we visited our Grandfather deep in the woods of rural Arkansas. They'd crawl up the pipes in the bathrooms of his big house. Yuck!)

We also went on a few hikes through the woods, by rocky streams, past huge outcroppings of rocks. It was beautiful. Norah climbed any of the rocks we came upon like a natural, finding better places to step than either my husband or I did. It reminds me: I once lay sprawled out on my back on the side of a snowy mountain looking up into the sky, one ski still on my bruised, twisted foot, the other ski having slid far below me off a cliff somewhere. I remember the vision of a three year old swooping past me while I lay there on the slope. She was about two and a half feet tall and bundled up in a purple snow suit. For one second, I wondered what kind of parents must have pushed her down the slope in the first place, but then I saw that the tiny person was completely steady on her skis- a pro- and so, laying there after a bad spill that started right after I exited the lift, I felt very incapable, to say the least. The point being: If you introduce a young child to any sport, like hiking or snow skiing, she can pick it up much easier then than when she is older.

One morning, I got away from my daughter long enough to read some Scripture. I came across the verse "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you." 1 Peter 5:6 My hand must have looked pretty "mighty" to all the bugs I'd killed about one second before I smashed them against something that week. I realized how mighty God's hand should seem to me. I am often a fool in my pride to stand so tall, with my arms crossed when His hand approaches me. His presence doesn't always bring with it a threat like that, unless we ARE proud toward Him, but, living in the woods for a week helped me see what the writer must have meant in that particular verse. The proper response to God's presence is always humility.

During the hikes, we would look for a mark of bright paint on the trees, leading us on the path to take. Once, on one most difficult trails, we came upon a literal mountain of rock and looked for the paint on one of the trees growing around the bottom of it. That is when my husband pointed straight up and I saw a little rock at the tip top of the mountain was painted. We we're supposed to climb straight up! I knew they had to be kidding! It was actually much easier than it looked to scale that rock. There was a staircase, of sorts, in the side of it. But, that rock had to have been in that exact spot since Creation. God put it there on something like the third day and it's still right where he put it! I thought then of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7. "The man who hears these words of mine and does them will be like wise man who built his house on a rock. The rains fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it stood firm, because it had been founded on a rock..."

I think now of the Three Little Pigs. So much fuss is always made over the materials they used to build their houses. (I've always suspected that, originally, some proud, manly brick mason came up with the story to tell his small children before bed every night). But, nothing is ever said about the spots where the pigs actually put their houses of straw, sticks or brick. I'd like to live on a sandy beach, yes, but I'd rather not have to run through the pelting rain for refuge on the rocks where they built the lighthouse. Like that song by Casting Crowns, "I'll take a shack on the rock, over a castle in the sand."