Saturday, March 31, 2012

Taking the Bumpier Road

After moving to Salt Lake City my husband and I began driving around learning about our new home. We discovered how the double numbering system using longitude and latitude kept us from ever feeling lost as we explored. One bright Sunday morning, we decided to drive out to Park City and spend a day exploring a mine they had converted for tourists. We went one mile underground in the mineshaft elevator to find a drippy, cold and dark environment that we mostly wanted to get out of and away from. Dutifully we rode the little mine cars that took us on a tour of the tunnels, learning all the way about how this mine provided so much to the residents of Utah including the artesian spring that supplied our water. At the end of the tour we rode the elevator back to God’s blue sky above and breathed relief at smelling the fresh mountain air.

This was just the beginning of the adventure however. We got back onto the freeway to travel into the city only to find the most massive roadblock of cars that we’d ever experienced. As we crawled forward at 2 M.P.H. we noticed that many locals were bailing off the freeway and up a mountain road. Having developed too much confidence in our navigation skills, we decided to follow the group traveling in a southerly direction. That’s where we made our mistake.

We had driven our brand new, and unfortunately low-hanging, Mazda to Park City. And what we really should have done was park for a while and let the traffic pass. My husband kept saying there was no problem as the street below us turned into a rutted, asphalt road; into a gravel strewn path; into a dirt trek; and finally into a deer trail as it made its way through the forest. Being the passenger in the car, I growled about every little bump and rock hitting the bottom of it. But when our way turned into a dirt trail with what felt like enormous boulders jutting into our path, I begged him to turn around. Nope, he had the wheel and was determined to bypass the traffic and find a different way. No matter what it did to the bottom of the car!

After forever, we reached the summit of the mountain and a dirt lot where backpackers had parked their vehicles while hiking on the mountain slopes. We proceeded through the area to another dirt road following our group leaders with faith in their knowledge. Eventually we left the rocks and dirt behind and found a real road again. It even took up past Sundance, but every bit of the explorer in me had been bumped and scared away.

We wound up coming out one valley south of where we lived, and found the freeway with little trouble that took us back home. Gary chuckled the whole way about what fun it had been to drive over the mountain with no real road to follow. When we arrived back home at the apartment Rosie barooed us a greeting, her lost wanderers.

Sometimes God’s path for us is a bit rutted too. Maybe the asphalt has decomposed a bit with time, or the way becomes lost in the forest of trees. Occasionally guides are sent that lead us back to find God again. All in all, I believe that almost everything that happens can shed light on our experience of the Lord, whether it be a deep, dark mine that makes you shiver or a non-road that helps you climb a mountain with your husband while all the time inside you’re thinking Grrrr!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Role Models and Spelling Lessons

By Linda Boutin

Boo Bear
     Have you ever noticed that “dog” is “god” spelled backwards?
     I hear the groans now, “Linda, you are just too into dogs!” you complain. And perhaps you are correct in this assessment. But there truly is something about a love of dogs and animals in general that brings out the best in many of us. Growing up 10th in a family of 12 children, I always could count on the complete attention of the family dog if I simply showed them the slightest interest. When a household is wracked with the noise level created by 3-5 teenagers, a couple of babies, and a year in which 3 of my siblings had weddings; not to mention the regular occurrences of births, graduations, ball games, solo performances, choir, plays, etc., etc., etc. Let me just say, that it was ever so easy to become lost in that crowd.
     Not so with my four-legged friends. I could call them, take a walk (to get away from the noise), dress them up (while ignoring my dolls), or simply share reading a book with them attentively listening. They captured my heart for as long as I can remember. And even in adulthood, while I stayed home battling pseudo-obstruction, a succession of basenjis sat beside me while my husband marched off to work to support our little family. Even had we been blessed with children, I know they simply would have caught my love of dogs and enjoyed them as well.
     It’s hilarious to me that so many dogs are named anything from Aphrodite to Buddha to Zeus or Hera. I know from these names that I am not the only animal lover who has noticed this weird quirk of spelling. Just how many cats have you heard of named Thor? I used to always name my basenji babies after a place in Africa since that is where their breed originates. However all of my dogs over the years sported many nicknames which they answered to. These days Kindu knows exactly how I’m feeling depending upon whether I call him by his real name (might be in trouble), Boo (good vibes), Little Buck (puppy name that has fallen into disuse), or “The Do” (when Gary and I are discussing his antics). And this list is not comprehensive.
Kindu keeping me company
     Seriously though, when I consider God’s unconditional love for His Creation--humanity, when I remember how He forgives us no matter how far we wander astray, when I realize He doesn’t hold a grudge no matter how I cling to one; it’s then that I know that God placed these little, patient, tail-wagging friends into our lives as an example for our own behavior. Jesus showed us a perfected example of what behavior to strive for, but the pup at my feet gives me the daily reminder to not judge, always forgive, and greet my friends like I haven’t seen them in months. It makes that friend feel special and isn’t that what makes life worth living?

P.S. Gary pointed out to me that this spelling does not cross over to other languages. Something is lost in the translation from English. No matter whether French, Spanish, or German, it just doesn’t work.