After about two or three hours of sleep last night, I woke at around 6:30 and went outside to greet the morning. Although my sleep was short, I felt well rested and strong. I'd spent some time last night uploading photos and having a much needed conversation with someone I'd not been in touch with for a while. I felt really good about all that was accomplished last night.
Last evening, we had dinner with some local small house enthusiasts -- Tyson and Amanda. Tyson plans to live with Amanda in a small house on his Father's land. I've been living in my small house on my Father's land for five years, and enjoy being in an extended family setting while still having independence. Tyson and Amanda have recently started a really nice blog about their small house experience and journey:
Amanda is a very skilled writer and photographer with a sweet and genuine personality. Tyson is one of these guys you quickly admire and respect for his enginuity, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, positive attitude, and hard work. So they were a fun couple to get to know.
This morning, I had an opportunity to visit with Tyson's Father, Kevin, who was a lot like Tyson, but like the bigger and stronger tree of the orchard. Some people grow frail with age. Kevin, like a tree, just seems to be stronger. I noticed a Zondervan NIV Study Bible on the table. I commented that it was one of my favorite versions of the Bible. After a little more conversation I learned that Kevin is the pastor of the local church, yet his lifetime vocation has been construction and building, or what I might refer to as inventing and designing -- creating.
Some of my favorite pastors have been those with building and construction experience. They are usually very practical and down to earth people, and approach the scriptures holistically. Their parables and metaphores often come from their practical experience with building. So, they approach the building up of individuals, families, and communities in an organized way. A pastor friend of mine would literally include diagrams of constructing a building in his sermons. Each aspect of the building represented a spiritual aspect of life.
Anyway, I digress. Kevin didn't try to rope me into a conversation about the Bible or salvation. He was enthusiastically telling me about a mountain he has been wrestling with --a real mountain.
In the main house, I noticed a simple vertical banner on a supporting beam with the words of Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" For some reason that scripture really spoke to me this morning. It was like a confirmation that I needed. I didn't share this with Kevin, but kept it to myself.
Kevin has been grappling and wrestling with the mountain north of their home. He eradicated the wild poison oak, briars, and thistles, and made a "road" up the mountain with switchbacks.
Seeing what he had done to transform the mountain and make it habitable was really something. His wrestling with a mountain reminds me of Jacob's wrestling with the angel of God (see Genesis 32:22-31). I'd previously heard about a faith that can move mountains. Now I've seen it.
The mountain pass was so steep that I felt like I might slide down. This photo is from the top of the mountain, but it doesn't really convey how high up we were.
(To be continued...)