October 20, 2010

The Steps We Take

It's a series of steps, this journey we call life.  Isn't it?  From the cradle to the grave we are moving somewhere - somehow.  Many take the easy road, though it's hard to see that any road that we may take is all that easy.  A few choose to take the hard road, though that usually isn't so much an individual decision as a set of circumstances that makes things tough.  Most of us just take the next step in life without a lot of thought about it.  Thinking or not, if you add them all up our steps are a journey.  And its that journey and the stories we have to tell about it that make life interesting.

Having said that, there is much about our journeys that have to do with our decisions.  Not everything, if anything, is decided for us.  Oh, sometimes we'd like to think that others or Someone or Something is guiding our way.  The truth is that we all have to decide the steps we take for ourselves.  It's a decision to be here now, writing and reading these words while trying to figure out for what it all means.  There must be some meaning to all of this, shouldn't there be?  If there isn't, then it is so easy to wander off or to just stop and drift into meaninglessness.  That, too, is a decision that we make for ourselves.

I don't want to wax philosophical here, but I believe that at the outset of any endeavor it's important to lay the foundation for one's thoughts and ideas.  I've mentioned in previous posts how important is my faith in a God who has revealed Himself.  I've also related something of the importance of certain decisions in my life, how it seems that two or three of them were of such great significance that entire new directions on the journey were made at those times.  For me it's all about faith and decision in taking these steps of the journey that we call life.  So, about that I'll have much to say later.

I hope you're doing well these days.

October 15, 2010

More Than A Prayer: God, Help Me

It all started one day on the road to Graceville, FL.  I had heard from God before and many times since, but never had He revealed Himself to me like this.  The day changed my life.  It gave me confidence in my faith and a desire to follow Him more than ever before.  My wife, two children and I were moving from Oklahoma to Florida.  We were all packed into our 1972 VW Superbeetle along with all our belongings.  The car was so heavy that the rear tired bowed outward.  Every hill was an effort to make it over.  To save time, we turned south onto a small county road, leaving the highway on the way to Selma, AL.  It was a beautiful early summer evening.  It had just finished raining and the air was fresh and clean. 

As we settled in for the last leg of our trip a dark thunder cloud billowed up before us.  Strapped on top of the car, our luggage and some other things were covered with plastic, but it had come loose and was flapping in the wind.  I needed to repair the plastic before we drove into the rain.  When I came over the next hill, I looked to the right and saw an old, abandoned house with a turn-in circle drive to the mailbox.  I quickly turned into the driveway.  As soon as I did, the car began to sink in the mud.  I tried to keep the car moving to get out and back onto the road, but it was too late.  By the time we got to the mailbox, the car had sunk to the axles. Shifting the gears only make it worse.  We were stuck.

I looked at my wife and said, "Well, we've got to get out of the car and see what we can do."  We all got out and I began to push-pull to no avail.  After a few frantic minutes, I looked to see what I could find to put under the tires and/or dig us out.  On the old house porch, I saw a shovel and went to get it.  By the time I got there, a noticed a man was was sitting in a chair.  He looked like he was homeless.  He was probably just sleeping there.  Anyway, I asked about the shovel.  He just looked at me with a twinkle in his eye.  He didn't say anything, so I took the shovel and went to dig the car out of the mud.

When I got back to the car, I dug and put things under the tires, trying to make some traction.  Nothing worked.  In fact, the more I tried, the deeper the car got stuck.  After about ten minutes maybe, I was at my wits end.  Dropping everything, I simply bowed by the car as my wife and children stood by and prayer, "God, help me."  Now, there hadn't been two vehicles pass us on the isolated road we were on during the whole ordeal.  There was no one to ask to help us.  It hadn't been more than a few minutes, though, when an orange county work truck came over the hill.  I flagged it down and they threw me a chain and pulled our car out of the mud.  After they got us out, I tried to pay them but they declined only saying, "Don't you know any better than to pull off the road in Lowndes county after a rain?"  I explained we were moving, but would keep that in mind. 

After they left, I returned the shovel to the porch.  I was going to thank the man that was there when I got it, but he was nowhere to be found.  I went back to my muddy car and we drove off into the rain with the plastic still flapping in the wind.