Jun 16, 2008

Signs of Life

I had a fabulous weekend. Father's day is always a little wierd for me. First of all, I live thousands of miles from my Dad, so I always feel like he gets shorted. Secondly, I am still adjusting to being a Dad (I guess I'll never actually "arrive" at fatherhood:). But, this weekend was exceptional.
You may have noticed that I have been completely absent from our Blog lately. I have been going through a deep dark valley full of terror, doubt, and despair. I say that, not as an excuse, but to communicate how different and uplifting this weekend was for me.
Carolyn and I gathered the kids for a hike on Sunday morning, something we haven't really done in two years. I wanted to be outdoors for Father's Day. But, even as we were getting ready to leave I could feel the weight of depression trying to hold me back. I was worried that the car needed work, I was worried that we would spend too much in gas, I was worried that I would be too out of breath to handle the hike. Carolyn pushed me out the door anyway. We planned on stopping in a small town on the way for a terribly fattening Deny's breakfast. The only problem was, there was no Deny's in said town. I had imagineered it. So, being depressed and hungry, I was ready to turn back. Carolyn pushed me forward. We ate at McDonald's...yuk usually, but surprisingly not to bad. We arrived at the trail-head an hour later than planned. I had a screaming headache, the kind that makes me squint and breath heavier than usual, I was ready to turn back. Carolyn pushed, pulled, and prodded me on.
We climbed for a mile or so to a series of ridges where we looked out over the Emigrant pass and Yuba gap area of California. We crossed streams and railroad tracks, we put our feet in frigid snow runoff. The kids and I even had a short snowball fight in the remaining snow of winter (there seems to be a metaphor there). The kids were a blast, they were having so much fun. They were so excited to see the cairns dotting sparse slopes of glacial polished granite. They were fighting over who saw which one first, but they missed the one pictured above. I saw it first and I snapped this picture.
I stopped for a moment to compose the image and when I looked up I was completely alone. Carolyn and the kids had descended out of view. I looked to the horizon and could see a clear winding path of this little stone piles. The sun was warm on my back and for the first time in months, I felt like there was hope.
I have been so stressed about our place in life lately that I have lost my way. I have felt so alone for so long. Life is tough when you feel that way. As we drove home, I began to think about the day and I began to realize that the whole day was a sign from the creator. This time of depression has been fueled by a massive crisis of faith. Four years ago, I was a Pastor; yesterday, I was starting to think that maybe God had given up on me. But, as I look at those cairns...i think there is a path that I somehow missed.
When I am on those empty slabs and I see a cairn, it reminds me that someone has walked this way before and left me a path to follow. It is like that in life too. There is nothing truly new in this world. Someone has always gone before and can show you a path. My Dad has always been such a person for me. I couldn't clearly communicate that to him yesterday, but I think he knows. That is why I am so committed to being a great father. It is the only way I can truly infect my children with love. At the same time, I was reminded that God has not forgotten me. God is not dead. God has gone before me. If I follow the path he has blazed, I am sure to see magnificent things.
So here's to the signs of life all around us. Those simple little reminders that life is a jorney, not a destination.

P.S. Thanks Dad!

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