Glad Anger Fear

The size of many New England states, 
(6 million acres) Denali National Park (http://www.denaliparkresorts.com/) can swallow you up.  Last week it wanted to swallow me.

We asked several rangers what hikes they recommended but no one would offer an opinion.  My guess was that they didn't want to be responsible if we took their advice and got lost or mauled by a bear or a pack of wolves.

We headed out but didn't know were we were going.  We just started walking.  Nothing real challenging.  There were no significant elevations and the views were not necessarily inspiring.  We were walking into no man's land with no idea where it would take us.  It felt pointless.  At one point, we were walking through willows that a week later would be impassable.  The hair stood up on my arms -- it felt too "gamey."  My instincts were correct, we were in a den area for 16 wolves!  We were never lost but we might as well have been.

My legs were dead tired and my feet were killing me.   I got tired quickly and was ready to find a ride and head for a hot shower. 

Later that same day, and still in the national park, we started another hike up a different mountain.  I'm not sure what the elevation was or how far we hiked.  But this time we got up past the tree line and started moving across a ridge-line from peak to peak . . . each new threshold paying off with massive breathtaking views too extraordinary for my senses to absorb.  

This was a challenging hike and 10x more difficult than the one we'd started earlier in the day that threatened to do me in.  This time, it was as if I was being pulled up the mountain, ignoring blisters the size of quarters and almost fifty year old legs that don't spring like a mountain goat the way they once did.  

I've thought much about the difference between the journey we took in the morning and the one we took later that day.  Both were in the same national park.  Both were taking me places I had never been.  Both were with the same friend.  One beat me down and the other built me up.  The only difference?


god with a little "g"

Fear Anger Sad

To the extent that darkness represents the unknown (and what I am not aware of that can harm me), I am afraid of the dark. 

To NOT admit my fear is to deny my humanity (denial, arrogance, or both).

To admit my fear is to awaken to my need for God and others (true neediness) which precipitates the "reach" that leads to faith, and ultimately wisdom.

I also believe in Heaven and am thankful today that I can live my life with hope, comforted that I don't have to be “God” to make sense of my life or create my own versions of what I want or can confidently expect in the afterlife.  Rather, I can trust a God who comforts me when my life doesn't make sense and who has made promises and assurances about what lies beyond the grave.

Stephen Hawking is a man of great faith . . . in himself.  

When he’s foretold his own death and resurrection and then actually comes out of the grave to prove he can speak with authority about what lies beyond the grave, I will put stock in his musings about the afterlife.  Until then, I'll stake my future on Jesus.



Fear  Sad  Lonely  Glad

When I was a kid, summer break seemed like a lifetime.  Three months of no school!!  A year was even longer.  And five years?  An eternity.  For a ten year old, five years represents half of your life, which is why I think it seemed like such a long time. For a 50 year old, five years is only 10% of your life, which is  why the older I get, the faster time seems to fly by.  It's not my imagination.  In the scope of my entire life here on earth, time is moving faster.

When my kids were young, everyone I knew in their 40's and 50's with high school and college kids warmed me how fast the time would go.  I didn't believe them.  Not only could I not imagine myself being "old" like they were, but I couldn't imagine my kids graduating from high school and leaving for college.

Jay, (#2 of 6) graduates from high school this Tuesday night.  I don't think it's possible for a dad to delight in his son anymore than I delight in Jay.  I marvel at the young man he has become and I so enjoy the tender full hearted relationship we share.  I'm more excited about his next four years in college then he is (I know what he's about to experience).  But I am also profoundly sad watching him begin the process of leaving.

He swam his last high school swim meet this past weekend.  I cried.  He sang in his last high school choir recital tonight.  I cried.  He'll give a speech at his graduation ceremony.  I'll cry.  He'll board a plane in September.  I'll sob.

The days are long . . .

    . . . but the years are short.