I’m just a stranger/looking for an information source/my indicators say I went a little bit off course/I’ve got this feeling/that I’m a hundred billion miles from home/and that my heart has crash landed/in another time zone
-Stephen Crumbächer (1986)
As I write this, I am recovering from altitude sickness. The kids were fine, I got it bad. Funny, the person who travels all the time is the one who gets altitude sickness and the kids who have barely traveled anywhere are fine.
But through adversity comes amazement (I know that isn’t the phrase but who cares). My kids and I have seen some remarkable features of this great country, seen some amazing works by God, and, personally, I have seen amazing growth in my own two kids.
If you read my last post, you will note that I am not an avid camper and this type of vacation is really not a vacation more than it is a chauffeur service for a family to get from one place to the next. That being said, I have found a lot of diamonds in the rough with this trip.
Since my last post, we have visited Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City and the Grand Canyon. All of those locations would make for a good week-long vacation, but we accomplished each in either 1 or 2 days visits.
At Mt. Rushmore, the feeling of patriotism is immense. I am not a political person. I understand that as Christians we are called to be “salt and light” and that part of that is to be active politically, but I just am not. However, at Mt. Rushmore, when you see those larger-than-life carvings of the past presidents and hear the ranger talk about the history, one cannot help but be moved. The ranger spoke about how Washington was so very loved that the people wanted him to be the king of America. But he felt so strongly that democracy was the right path that he stepped away from running for another term. Or the story about Roosevelt and how he was a “man’s man” that when he was in law enforcement, he would go, after hours, dressed in a cowboy hat and cape down back alley streets to bust bad cops. It is stories like that that created this country. It is stories like that that are missing from today’s presidents and elected officials. Now it is all about your public image, not whether you choose to do the right thing. We need to get back to those days where presidents and elected officials care less about their image and more about what is right. Then, and only then, will we see a resurgence of Christianity throughout America. A resurgence of Biblical teaching, which Thomas Jefferson put into all public schools to “act as a light” in a dark age. (ok…stepping down off my soapbox)
At Yellowstone, we had a lot of great family time. The kids swam in Lake Yellowstone, we came VERY up close and personal with buffalo, and we marveled at God’s beauty through the volcanic sights. The kids couldn’t understand how something so beautiful could also be so terrifying until we heard the ranger discussing the impact that a super-volcano like Yellowstone could have on the earth as a whole. And to see my kid’s faces light up as a buffalo was within spitting distance of our RV was priceless.
Salt Lake City was impressive in that the salty lake is a wonder unto itself. We barely had time to stop anywhere in Salt Lake, but we did get a chance to look at both the lake and the Mormon temple. We had a long discussion about Mormonism which led into a 3-hour study of Jesus Christ and His life, death, and resurrection. And, on the record, I will say that Mormonism is NOT Christianity. Anyone who tells you differently is a liar. At best it can be considered a cultic cousin but I don’t believe it is even that. It is flat out a heretical religion. Take that for what it is worth, but I guarantee you that I cannot vote for someone who is Mormon. Mitt, I am sorry, but you lost my vote because of your religion. Small minded? Yea, maybe. But that is me. And, Mitt, that doesn’t mean I won’t show you love, but I will be brutally honest with you (which IS a characteristic of love, by the way) and tell you that the Bible condemns modifying any of the Biblical texts (oops, I got back up on that soapbox again.)
Finally, we went to the Grand Canyon. This was my first visit to this wonder. I was in awe when I saw the sheer immensity of this canyon. Tears were actually brought to my eyes as I looked through the telescopic lens at various landmarks inside the canyon. To know that this God-created landmark was one of the seven natural wonders of the world is amazing. The one thing that amazed most about this landmark was that we chose to do a planned tour of the canyon. Each and every one of us said we had more fun exploring the other landmarks alone, not part of a tour.
My kids have grown so much during this trip. Just tonight, as we pulled into Grand Junction, Colorado, my kids made friends with 6 other kids at various times during the night. We arrived after 6pm local time and immediately went swimming in the pool. There were three kids in the pool, one of them a girl Makenzie’s age. They hit it off quickly. They played in the pool for almost two hours, playing games of Marco polo, chicken fights, and diving competitions. Afterward, we walked next door to the carnival. It happened to be “kid’s night” and all-you-could-ride bracelets were super cheap. As they were riding, they met three other kids their age and spent from 8:30-11:30 running around the carnival with them as I followed a respectable 10 paces behind.
Even during our almost six-hour drive to Grand Junction today, the kids did not even argue. I was surprised. They played together much of the trip and we spent about 2 hours playing 20 Questions.
I am impressed at how well the kids have gotten along. I am blessed to say that I have been a part of their growth. Will they go back to their mom and say otherwise? Of course.
But I know.
I’ve seen it first-hand how these two children have grown. It is a blessing. And I know that whatever happens, I have had these almost three weeks to see how God is working in their lives.
I laugh as I end this because, those who know me, know that by now I would be in tears. And I am. I can’t see the computer screen that well anymore.
We will end this week by meeting up with friends and coworkers in Denver and then two very long days of straight travel across I-70 until we get home on Sunday.
I know these posts have been more of an experiential bias and less of an apologetic view, but Paul’s conversion happened through his experience in Christ. I have experienced Christ these past few weeks through the eyes of my children.
Ok, now I can’t see the screen at all through the tears.