View from the top

In the end it really is all about our perspective on life and the things of God…

Last weekend Melissa and I went to Arkansas for the weekend where I help lead a retreat for college students. In the middle of the retreat my friend decided we would all go for a short hike. Immediately I was fooled. 1) it was not short and 2) it was not a hike – it was a torturous mountain climb. The trail started by following a stream, and it was quite the picturesque moment.  All of the group was hiking through autumn colored trees, Melissa was holding Eli, and Champe and I were walking hand in hand while I could swear the tune of Andy Griffith played in the background as we followed the trail around the base of the mountain. About 200 yards in Champe’s 3 year old legs got tired so like any good Dad I put him on my shoulders. A view from thetop Which was a great idea until the trail no longer went around the mountain, it turned straight up and went over the mountain. As I made the fateful turn to start on what would be 1 of a dozen or so steep switchbacks, I stopped and realized I was in for the fight of my life. With Champe on my shoulders I counted each step as a trekked up the mountain determined to not look like a wimp in front of the group, but more importantly my boys. With each step my hatred towards this mountain and this experience grew, but my determination not to let the mountain get me also grew. The entire time I am huffing and puffing my innocent 3 year old is on top of my shoulders singing away clueless to the struggle of man versus nature below him, but instead is driving me and perhaps the mountain crazy. Over the next 30 minutes this is what I hear nonstop from my dear sweet boy… “daddy why are the leaves yellow, daddy why is the sky blue, daddy why are you stopping, daddy we can do it, daddy why is your face red and all wet, daddy can i put this stick in your ear, daddy why is everyone beating us. daddy will you sing with me. daddy why are you crying. Daddy why is everyone way ahead of us. Daddy why is you shirt all wet. Daddy, daddy, daddy.” He squawked on and on in is his high pitched 3 year old voice that was just inches from my ear. Melissa (who yes carried Eli on her hip the whole way, although he was not singing and talking nonstop) at times stopped to make sure my heart was still beating. The battle waged on for what seemed like 10 miles but was probably a little less than 1, all the way to the top. Where I gladly took Champe off my shoulders and set him down. What happened next will forever be sketched in my mind. He grabbed my hand, squeezed it and then proclaimed to the group, “We climbed the mountain.” I did not correct him with but my mind was saying, ” I climbed the mountain, you were just along for the ride.” It was a victory that will forever go down in history father and Son we Conquered the mountain, and Champe had the best seat in the house.

I think somewhere in there there is a spiritual point or two about our perspective on life and what God does and we take the credit for. Thank you Champe for the innocent memory you created, and thank you God for conquering the mountains in my life.

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3 responses to View from the top

  1. Jeff Warren

    I LOVE this story. What a great God we have- we never really know all that He is doing for us (in fact, I’m certain we know very little of what He is always doing for us). But a view He has given us of our world.
    Thanks Mark.

  2. Carol Haye

    Wow… thank you for a beautiful view from the top. Our children are such an amazing gift straight from God’s hand (and Heart). Thank you for taking the time to so eloquently capture it in words.

  3. Joyce Wood

    Mark, what a great story and great comparison of God’s love and care for us. Thank you for framing it in such a brilliant way and thanks for sharing.

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