Life is exactly that.
Years ago I was the Director of a 700-acre outdoor adventure YMCA camp. It seems like another lifetime, but I remember the stories well.
One particular man comes to mind today. Our tradition at camp on the first night was to walk/hike the dry riverbed to the front part of the property for opening campfire. The event started kids getting acclimated to their new environment, but it also was way more fun than just riding in the van – for most.
Most of our kids came from the Houston, Texas area. Our camp being out northwest of San Antonio in the Texas hill country was a completely new environment for many of them. The air is drier, the terrain is hillier (is that a word?), and we had a whole other breed of animals than they did in downtown Houston.
For some kids this was the first time they had seen a real-live cow. Hard to believe in Texas, but true nonetheless. The kids got to live in Native American teepees and experience everything from rappelling and horseback riding to swimming in the river and shooting bows and arrows. Cool stuff.
But back to this one young man…
The kids at camp were between twelve and sixteen years of age. This young man was fifteen. The first night of camp we followed tradition and headed up the ravine. About fifteen feet into the hike, the young man took my hand. Not because he just enjoyed my company, but because he was scared to death. He had never been in such an environment and had no idea what was out there.
First, he was paranoid about mountains lions and pretty sure one would attack us on our hike. After reassuring him that would not happened, he got brushed by a branch. He got a little spastic momentarily as he was for sure a spider was on his head and would proceed to bite him. Shadows became things to avoid, snakes might be under rocks, and what if it rains and the ravine begins to flood? All of this within about a half-mile.
Riding on the bus to camp, he was brave. Jumping in the ravine…not so much.
This adventure we call life can sometimes feel just like that ravine, and truth-be-told I have had the same reaction as that young man at times. Instead of enjoying the scenery, relishing the new experience, and trusting my safety to One more capable, I start to freak out and get a little spastic. Now, I know this probably happens to no one else, but it does to me.
I think of that young man often and wonder why he was so scared – I was holding his hand the whole time and had been down this ravine more times than I could count. I could have walked it with my eyes closed. Why didn’t he just trust me? God probably wonders much the same thing. The circumstances are just the same – holding my hand and knows the ravine. Why don’t I just trust Him?
Granted, this adventure can get a little unnerving at times, but God has been faithful – why would He do anything different? So, today, I plan to enjoy the journey through the ravine and relish in this crazy adventure.
Amazingly enough I could turn out just like that young man. After a week at camp, he had successfully ridden a horse (and loved it), traversed the ropes course, learned to shoot a .22 rifle, canoed and swam the river (even with fish in it!), and learned to love life in the teepee. He was ready to go home, but he had loved the adventure.
When I get to the end of life, I want to say the same thing – ready to go home, but loved the adventure.