Back-Packing #1

dsc_9691My son and son-in-law are planning a trip to Havasupai Falls in Arizona.  They hope to fly into Phoenix, drive to the head of the trail, and hike the 12 miles required to reach their destination, which by all appearances on Instagram and videos shot by Go-Pros, resembles a small heaven on earth. For those determined enough to take the challenge, the reward of seeing crystal-clear waterfalls and jewel-toned lakes in the heart of the canyon will be well worth the obstacles in their path.

Currently, they are choosing packs and researching what things they need to bring.  How does one prepare for medical emergencies and unforeseen dangers along the way?  As a mom,  I try not to fret or nag, and I only ask a few questions such as: “Will the rattlers be still hibernating in April?”

Watching them carefully choose the  items needed makes me think a lot about what is in my back-pack for traveling through this life.  Due to no merit of my own, I have been given not only an accurate trail-map and great supplies,  but also wise people  who either walk beside me,  or have gone on before me and know a lot of the things that only “the locals,” or ones who have made the hike would know.

My pack is loaded.

In my enthusiasm, I could dump all the contents out into your lap: the whole kit and caboodle (what is a caboodle anyway?) and write a very long blog, but I will curb that tendency and just pull out one item at a time,  and tell you  how each one has helped me survive the rattlers and hazards along the way.  The items are connected, which means you will need to look at all three, in order for them to all make sense.  (One blog/item.)

Item #1:  My mom’s life story.

It is an engaging tour guide, written by one who has almost completed her journey here on earth.  I keep it handy.  I like to read it, and think of everything in reverse…sort of an “It’s a Wonderful Life” scenario.  It could be called, “What If.”   In her story, she tells over and over of different situations she found herself, and something in her heart told her, “Don’t stay there,”  or “Watch out!  Come this way….” Even before she had made the decision to follow Jesus, He was speaking to her and she was listening.  Her heart was tender and we, her family and future generations are, and will be benefiting from her choices for many years to come.

What if she had stayed in the apartment with older “worldly” girls who made it a habit to bring soldiers home to spend time in the evenings? What if she had married a man with different values than her own?  (Even her parents thought he would make a good husband!)   My mother was a very pretty young woman and the traps and pitfalls along her way look like a regular mine-field to me (now a mother of 3 women),  but it was a dangerous field she  not only carefully navigated, but one she survived,  intact.

What if she had succumbed to depression and taken her own life instead of raising we 6 children alone, after my father died?  What if she had become a bitter woman when her daughter, my sister,  died in a tragic accident,  leaving a stricken husband and young family of five?

The story of my mom’s life could have read as a  heart wrenching, horrible tale if she had not listened to her God-given conscience throughout her life.  Instead, it makes a great trail-side read when my path gets rough, and I need to take a break for some wisdom and refreshment.

Fortunately, she wrote the guide while she was still able, because now she has no short-term memory.  What a blessing in disguise,  for now,  (because of her choices along the way) she only has warm memories of the  distant past, with all of its difficulties, trials,  amazing opportunities and  blessings.  She  is a joy-filled person in this last chapter of her life story.

I am so thankful to be able to pull  her biography  from  my back-pack, and share it with  my children.   It is better than any movie, because we can all see,  first hand,  that the righteous really do walk by faith.  She is a living testament to the verse found in Psalms 121:3.

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.

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