Sunday, July 31, 2011

An Amazing Time.

From my high school days I dreamed of going to the Rockies on an outdoor adventure. When Drew was seven years old, I shared this dream with him after reading a book about the western wilderness. He said, "Maybe we can go together sometime, Daddy." We decided that night that we would when he was old enough (if he still wanted to). Drew LOVES hiking, backpacking, and experiencing the wilderness. It has always been his thing. And it is something we both love.

I am profoundly grateful that our church has from the start determined to give full-time staff a sabbatical after every seven years. Pastors in particular tend to get buried in their work and sometimes burn out; or perhaps worse, burn out their families. I could give numerous examples. This policy helps us keeps family first and rekindle the burning passion for Christ--both necessary if we are to lead people spiritually. It is because of this intentional policy that I was able to fulfill my and Drew's dream, and spend some invaluable time together before Drew goes to college in a couple of years (I dread the thought!).

Many months ago, I blocked out July for the trip. I didn't know where the money would come from, but I knew God would provide. He answered my prayers. I was able to save a few hundred dollars over the last year, and without ever mentioning the need to anyone, a couple of wonderful people from our church gave me gifts that made it possible to go. I am so grateful.

We flew out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming on July 4th for 23 days. There is no way to tell every detail. We backpacked and camped in the Tetons, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Yellowstone, the Winds (a desolate high mountain range south east of the Tetons), the canyon land of Utah, the Colorado Rockies, and other places. We saw 7 states (not from Rock City): Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and (barely) New Mexico and Arizona. It seems most spots had their particular plague: cold & snow, mosquitoes (often), gnats, no-see-ums, horseflies, heat, bears, or something else! But believe me, the beauty and exhilaration of each place far outweighed these tolerable negatives. I'm sure you Providence folks will hear stories in the future from the wild and wonderful adventure Drew and I had together.

The one thing I will say at this point is this: I would not trade anything for the time spent with Drew. I love my son. Yes, we had some good deep conversations--sometimes about very spiritual things. Yes, we had to depend on each other. But perhaps best of all we were TOGETHER; laughing, hurting, stinking, and experiencing amazement. I (intentionally) did very little reproving. We are completely different in many regards, but we are also very much alike--a fact that I focused on. We both like to eat well. We both like to read. We both like to observe the plant and animal life around us. We both like tech stuff (computer and cell phone related in particular), we both like the same styles of music, we both like to talk about politics. We both like our sweet tea.

One of my daughters was going through a rough-spot a while back. A Christian friend Darla and I respect gave some advice. "Enjoy her. Let her know you delight in her." I took the advice and it made all the difference. As parents we can easily become negative. In this I am guilty. Drew is our oldest, and the fact that he's a son makes him even more the victim of my high expectations. Of course, I have his best interests at heart and only want him to experience the benefits of wisdom. When he resists wisdom, I can become negative. Sometimes negative communication can be inferred as, "You're a failure." ESPECIALLY if a kid does not have the confidence of knowing his parent delights in him or her. My brother-in-law wisely said it this way: "Reproof without relationship equals rejection and rebellion."

Relationship is the key. There is no substitute for time spent doing what your child loves to do--encouraging them and delighting in them and with them. I challenge you parents to MAKE THIS HAPPEN. Consider this a great task you must accomplish. It is not complicated. It is invaluable.

Here are a few pics of our trip.

Hidden Falls in the Tetons:

Cascade Canyon:

Fixing lunch after a cloudburst next to Cascade Creek.

Hiking on snow in July:

A hill of flowers with quite a view:

The beginning of our hike around this lake (Green Lake) to the top of one of the mountains in the back.

This is Slide Lake which is a several-mile hike into the Winds range. Incredible!

(Above) Climbing the talus (rock slide) above slide lake on our way to 12,000+ ft. Flat Top Mountain. There's no trail here! We call this "the Epic Hike."

(Below) We are probably 80% of the way to the top where we rested and ate.

Canyon country near Moab, UT.

Gemini Arches. Look closely to see that we are hundreds of feet from the floor! There was a monument there of a guy who died here driving his Jeep. I can see how.

This is a great campsite Drew picked on a mountain across the "hole" from the Tetons. Perfect (except for the horseflies and mosquitoes)!

Red Mountain in Colorado, above the famous "Yankee Girl" silver mine. We camped on the mine site.

Different from Red Mountain is "Red Hills" in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Our last night was spent near here.

Buffalo. Umm...I mean, "Bison."

Evidently I've reached the max of photos I can publish on this post. There are literally hundreds more!

1 comment:

Taryn said...


What an amazing trip and a great experience for you and Drew. I can't believe how much your 'babies' have grown up!