Before Jackie left for college, she had her list of must-do’s. One of them was to watch Chariots of Fire, one of our family’s favorite movies. I love the music, especially when driving through beautiful scenery. The great thing about that… you can be a long drive through boring scenery, but put on the Chariots of Fire soundtrack and voila! Suddenly the scenery is beautiful. (I discovered this while driving through endless miles of Nebraska.)
But I digress… Chariots of Fire is set in the 1920’s and revolves around Great Britain’s Olympic running team. Eric Liddel is one of the main characters. His family runs a mission in China and at one point his sister is trying to convince him to stop training and return to China. He tells her that this is his plan, but not until after the Olympics. I cannot recall the exact quote but it is something like this,
…he explains his commitment to the mission service but, “God also made me fast, and when I run, I feel his pleasure!”
I love the line, “I feel his pleasure.” Hopefully everyone has at one time in their life done good deeds, service to family or friends, etc. and known that it pleased God. You just can’t help but be more happy when you follow his commandments, when you put aside your own desires to obey his will — but when I heard this line last fall, I knew that to feel God’s pleasure is even deeper. Eric Liddel had devoted his life to service, but finding his special gift and using it… this is what he was talking about.
Everyone must have special gifts, more than talents; something that is unique to us – something that will somehow enrich our life here on earth. I began to reflect on my own life – what was there that I could do to feel God’s pleasure? Recently, I heard someone speak on a similar topic. She said that to recognize our particular gifts we can ask ourselves, “What compliments do I receive that I downplay the most.” Downplay them – not as in false modesty, but because they don’t seem like such a big deal; perhaps because they come so naturally?
Sometimes – those feelings come when we aren’t doing anything spectacular. Sometimes we are just plodding along and happen to find ourselves in one of those experiences that is simple yet significant
Anyway, just a few weeks ago I felt a rush of God’s pleasure at a most unexpected time! A family rule states that 12 years old is a good time to stop Trick-or-Treating. Halloween came — we had no one under 12 — we needed a fun activity — we chose camping. We watched the weather – it rained, and rained, and rained. It was cold. Our native northwest children couldn’t understand why a little rain would stop us – and so we packed up and headed for the mountains.
Here’s the deal – camping used to be one of my favorite activities. Then I moved to the country and no longer needed to camp. In fact, why go to the woods packed-full of other campers when I could sit in my yard and enjoy both nature and solitude… and indoor plumbing. If Jackie had been home, she and I would have enjoyed a quiet mother-daughter night at home; but she was gone and I had lost my excuse. Mom was camping.
What do you know? October 31 – and we had the campground all to ourselves!
|The view was even better
on our night hike.
Mark and David have a lot of experience camping in the rain and they managed to get a tarp-shelter by the fire for us in the nick of time. The rain came full force. The tarp leaked here and there, but we managed to fit almost all of our chairs in a dry spot. Mark doesn’t like to mess with tents, especially in the mud. He likes to use a pop-up shelter and a cot – so we had a couple of those ready… but the mud! Across the road from our campsite (#13 in honor of Halloween) was a pavilion. We scurried over there to eat our foil dinners and play some games – since there was mud under our shelter and cement under the pavilion, we decided to set up cots on the cement.
|The dog did NOT sleep with us, she
thought that we were crazy.
We were dry, but we were so cold. Nevertheless, as I snuggled down into my cold sleeping bag, my beanie-capped head on the cold pillow — it came. I felt a rush of what I distinctly felt was God’s pleasure. I knew exactly what I was feeling. We were on a family adventure, making memories that matter. Not very comfortable, but a family alone in the wilderness laughing about their circumstances – that’s good stuff!
It was a long night, but now we share a story.
Another quick story – We drove to Utah for our annual cancer screenings at The Huntsman Cancer Institute. A quick visit with our oncologist and geneticist and then a brain MRI and full-body scan MRI for three of the children and Mark.
Results look great – two completely clean, two will need follow-up MRI’s for a closer look (the full-body scan is not super clear). Neither item is of great concern at the moment. We will not worry until there is a reason to worry… Natalie saw her neurosurgeon when we got back to town. He gave her a clean bill of health and a year off from brain MRIs. Quote from Natalie: “Well, this will be a boring year.”
Bring it on! Boring sounds magnificent….