“October had tremendous possibility. The summer’s oppressive heat was a distant memory, and the golden leaves promised a world full of beautiful adventures. They made me believe in miracles.” –Sarah Guillory, Reclaimed
It is October….the month that feels the most familiar to me. I don’t really know why, but when it comes, its like the return of an old friend. October calls me to go outside as much as humanly possible. I wear sweaters in the morning, and then get hot by mid-afternoon. I soak it up as much as I can because I know that winter is lurking, and I don’t leave the house when its cold. I know, I sound like I’m 95 years old. But, ask my children, they know momma doesn’t play when it’s less than 50 degrees.
But, this past weekend was the most perfect weekend to do some hiking with the family. Now, I don’t want to paint some false Norman Rockwell picture here. I don’t go hiking a lot. But, it was Fall Break, and I wanted to take advantage of having a school day off.
I decided to take my kids to a local state park and hike. My husband just had sinus surgery, so he had the perfect excuse to stay behind and get better. I thought this would be a great memory maker. Perfect October day, nowhere to go, and I have all 3 of my kids…TOGETHER! Mommas with teens, y’all know this is a very big deal!
We park the car, and begin our hike. There was a huge shiny map at the bottom of the parking lot, and we all stop to take a look. One thing about me is that I am terribly directionally challenged. I mean, for real. I can get lost anywhere. Places where people are not supposed to get lost, I get lost. So, when I look at a map, all I see are little squiggly lines that have dots and slashes. I do see a yellow star that marks “YOU ARE HERE” but it truly means nothing to me. And, sadly to say, I have passed on that genetic disconnect to my daughter. So most of the time we wander aimlessly (just kidding, but not really!).
We started to walk. It was totally like a movie. There was a beautiful scenic lake that had a trail next to it. Behind the lake were rolling hills with the reds, yellows and orange hues covering the trees. Oh look! My daughter spots a little deer nibbling around the fallen leaves. We all whisper and take pictures. Look over there! Wild turkeys! My children are all laughing together and holding hands! It’s working!!! It’s really working!! We are making memories that will last forever! Until…
My 6-year-old son starts to say he’s getting thirsty. Ummm….am I supposed to bring water on hikes? I really didn’t think we’d be hiking long, so I didn’t bring anything. He asks how long we’ve been gone, and my daughter says an hour. An hour! So now we have to walk an hour back? Which way did we come from? Does this look familiar to anyone?? My 6-year-old begins to say we are going to die out here. They are going to find our skeletons on the trail. My daughter and I start to freak out. We are talking 100 words per second spinning in circles trying to see where we came from or where to go. Then, my 14-year-old says, “Guys, I know where to go. I looked at the map. All the trails are in a circle. Let’s just continue going the same way.” Ok….this was a real first for me. Normally, I know what to do. You know, I’m the mom. I usually have the answers. But, this time, I’m out of my element. This time my son had the answers. He took action, and he had such confidence about him. So we followed him.
There were times when we thought he took us the wrong way, but in the end, he was right. He got us exactly where we needed to go. And, as he turned around to flash his dimpled smile at me with all his pride that he “saved” us….it happened. On an October day, the shadow of my boy still stood there, but I also saw the glimmer of the man who is to come. I was so grateful that I was there to witness it. Don’t get me wrong….he still has a loooonnnggg way to go. But, I’m seeing him with different eyes now. It’s amazing, really.
I had to be completely out of my realm to trust my son to lead us out of the woods. I knew enough to know that my own abilities wouldn’t do it, so I had to lean on his knowledge. Isn’t that the same with our relationship with the Lord? It usually takes a situation where we feel totally out of control and overwhelmed before we come to Him for guidance. It’s like we are treading water, and we only ask for help from the Lord when we get tired. When, all along, He could get us out of the ocean! He wants to be involved in all aspects of our life: the goofy, the exciting, the terrifying and the mundane, too! So, why are we waiting??
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6