(Posting note: This was recorded on Friday July 13th, but I didn’t find time to edit, transcribe and post until today, Friday July 26th. This is the last one on the trail so video quality will be improving with the next post.)
A blessed 14th Friday in Ordinary Time to you and your family. I’m Deacon Ken Crawford and this the 10th in my video series as a newly ordained deacon. I was ordained on June 30th, just coming up on 2 weeks now, pretty soon. For those of you who have been watching, I’m on a backpacking trip right now. I finished day 3. I’m here in the tent. It was a long day today, 16 miles, which was very hard on particularly my 10 year old (son). Which is I think my topic for this evening, when he was distracted, when we were talking about his older brother’s potential girl interest or about things that didn’t get done this summer that dad wasn’t too pleased with his older brothers, he was fine. He would hike and hike and hike and hike. But then when the focus would come on to how tired he was, then all of a sudden he would be on the verge of tears because it was a long, long hike.
In fairness to him, it was a long, long day.
But my point is, I think that’s a good metaphor for life. There are times when we let our difficulties consume us in ways that we shouldn’t. If we were just to focus on other things; focus on the positives in our lives; focus on the good things that we want to focus on; we could endure many of the hardships that we sometimes let cripple us. One of the neat things about being on the trail is that there are so many metaphors for struggle and perseverance in life. This was the one that stuck out to me today. Sometimes we just need to focus on other things; not worry so much about the particulars of what is bother us and just say ‘you know, just keep doing what we’re doing’. Do we have a path to success? Are we following where God wants us to go? And if so, just endure the hardship. Don’t worry about it. It will be fine. You’ll look back on it as a great thing.
That’s the funny thing about the backpacking trips. (And I’ve been doing them for 5 plus years now with the boys, as they’ve reached the appropriate age, so the youngest one is just now starting, this is his first year. Where my sophomore in high school has been doing it for a number of years now.) There’s so many trips where it just seemed like they couldn’t care less, that they hated the experience, that they hated their father for at least some short period of time. Then they get home. They want to talk about how it was the most awesome thing that ever happened. They are so glad they went. It was awesome. It was wonderful. Telling their mother, my wife, all about it. And again, it’s often that sort of thing. Sometimes we look back on our hardships as the greatest times in our lives.
So lets endure them with more peace; with more comfort; with more knowledge that God puts us where He needs us to be. Sometimes that’s very challenging. Sometimes He needs us to grow in some way and the only way for that to happen is by going through this hardship. Sometimes this hardship is for someone else’s benefit, who really needs it and can’t bear it, but we can bear it for them. And that’s OK. Let’s not worry so much. There’s so many good things in life.
There’s an old musician who had this analogy, he said, “If we could just start flying. Not in an airplane, but like we had wings and FLY! We’d be thrilled for… you know… a week. And then a week later it would be like ‘Well everyone can fly, why am I special? I can only do what everyone else can do.'” We are blessed with so many things but we compare ourselves in relative ways that are unnecessary. Poor children in the worst part of the world have joy in their lives. How can that be?
Well, it can be because there is still joy even amongst poverty. Not that we shouldn’t try to help people in poverty, but no matter what situation you are in, in life, this existence is a beautiful, wonderful existence. It is something to be joyous about. Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we need to be put through hard times to recognize that. Sometimes we need to know a difficult time so the good times are all that much better.
Let’s just try endure those tough times with peace.
This actually should be the last on the trail report. I’m still not going to be back in internet connectivity land for a handful of more days because we’re going to be at the family cabin and it is out of internet zone. I don’t know how my children will survive that travesty. So I’ll post a couple more from the cabin, but of course you won’t know any of this until I get home and can post the entire series.
With that, God bless you. God bless your families. Pray for me. Pray for my ministry. Pray retroactively for this hike that I’m finishing up. I will pray for you and your family. And God willing, I’ll be able to post one of these tomorrow.