A Lesson at the Creek

I ditched the laundry, lesson plans, and lists this weekend. Instead, I took to the outdoors to soak in this glorious weather. I was seeking a bit of solace from the storms of life that rage around me. I took a drive Friday to explore unknown places. (See my note An Afternoon Drive) Saturday I walked the lake with a friend, but was not able to bring myself indoors afterwards so I went on up to Dick’s Creek. It was my hope that it was early enough in the spring that the swimming hole would be empty, and that I would be able to bask in the beauty of the place and soak up its peace. I was disappointed to find two families, with 8 children and 3 dogs among them, covering the banks around the water. Obviously from the city, these kids were dressed in their bathing suits not realizing that the temperature outside is in no way related to the temperature of a cold mountain stream. Not to be deterred, I went down anyway and put my feet in the water that was a few degrees above ice. Within minutes my feet were pink and numb, but after my long walk earlier in the day it felt like heaven….for those 5 minutes at least. How those kids were swimming around me was a mystery I attributed to their youth. Mainly they jumped in up to their knees, and splashed everyone (that would include people standing with their feet in the water) around them before turning tail and running out again. After my feet were sufficiently iced, I took a seat on a nearby rock to watch the action around me.
I have found that God does not always speak to me the way I expect him to, and since I went in search of him, I knew he wanted to be found. He calls to me that way sometimes. Anyway, I settled in to watch for his appearance. I chatted with one of the moms. I watched a dog ambitiously try to retrieve a tree trunk from the water. I figured out which kids were siblings and to which set of parents they each belonged. I saw the younger ones unsuccessfully attempt to get out to a rock in the middle of the stream. I reminisced about my own children at these ages which were probably 4, 5, 7 and 11.
Then I noticed the dad rolling up his pant legs. He took a few steps into the water, then up to his knees, then to mid-thigh, with a grimace on his face. After sucking wind at the frigid temperature, he successfully stepped up onto the rock in the middle of the stream and turned back to his kids who were jumping up and down at the edge of the water. He held out his hand and said, “Come here and take my hand.” And with that statement God had my attention. The first girl, probably age 5 or so, started towards him. Jumping to keep herself warm in the waist deep water as she went, he told her, “Do not jump. Walk. One step at a time, then grab onto me. I will pull you up.” She obeyed and was thrilled to be safe with him in the middle… to the point that she encouraged her siblings that they could do it too. One by one, three of the children made it to the rock. Then the father did something unexpected. He went on across from the rock in the middle to the other side of the stream. One by one his children, having learned to trust him from their last experience, took his hand once more across a more treacherous part where the current was even stronger. About this time, the older son who was a tween, decided he wanted to cross the stream too, and so he struck off on his own. He nearly made it before falling all the way into the icy current. Once back up, he was so fast at exiting the stream he appeared to walk on water. All four children and the dad made it across with great triumph. Mom had a fancy camera and she documented the accomplishment. The cheers could be heard throughout the forest. After much celebration and picture taking, the process was repeated to get each child back across to safety. One of the girls said as she swished her way onto the shore, “Can you believe I did that? I cannot believe I did that.” I SAW the lesson and smiled.
I bet you see it too. The Father reaches out and tells us to take his hand. He will pull us up through the danger into his arms…onto safe ground. Then just when we think we have made it, he asks us to go even further. We do it, even in our fear, because we now know not to jump. One step at a time. We know he will see us across to the other side and back again. He built that trust into us before asking us to go further. If we try it independently of him, we will fall, but he will embrace us once we arrive. He celebrates our every step, be it with him or without him because he knows that every step ends in celebration within his arms. We are never out of his sight. Then, once we have survived the tumultuous current due to his intervention, we take full credit. Our confidence soars, he smiles a knowing smile, takes our hand and listens to us chatter about our great adventure all the way home. His lesson to me is once again, to wait and then grab his hand and let him pull me up.
After that lesson yesterday, I went out again today for another adventure…or rather, to continue my one from Friday, only in the jeep this time. Even with four-wheel drive I would’ve turned back had it not been for my testosterone filled teenage son cheering me on, “Go for it mom. We can make it through that easy.” And we did…through the pond-puddle, then another mud filled one and across the stream to the trailhead. It was worth every effort too. I found the treasure that the pothole map was leading me to on Friday. A beautiful hike and stream with cascades and falls all along the way…and no other people…anywhere. We had miles of solace all to ourselves. 🙂

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