Good Morning Brothers…
(one more from our guest author)
Friday morning finds all three of us up before the rising sun. At this point we could not be more ready to go home and see our families. Packing up camp makes for short work, but the hard part will be to pack the horse with the saddle bags. Packing the saddle bags with all of our gear would seem easy enough, until you have to ensure that the weight from left to right is no more than one pound difference. With a weigh scale in hand we begin to load Shorty. We have a couple of bags to strap to the top of the saddle bags using rope work that none of us know how to do for sure. A side note here is that I have been warned that Shorty will not be a happy horse if the pack falls off of his back and is around his belly area. I couple this with the episode of my dear friend being landed on with the horse and I can feel the anxiety rising.
We start the trip down in the same order we came up the mountain in. Wes, leading Shorty, followed by Richard, with me bringing up the rear. I have visions of our trip down being easy, relatively relaxing, and me being able to take in the scenery. About a hundred yards into the hike down, Richard asks me to take the position behind Shorty. He can barely manage his own leg walking, let alone make sure the pack is not falling off. I jump ahead of him and the journey resumes. The path is extremely rough going down and poor Shorty, as sure footed as he is, is jostling the packs pretty good. The weight begins to settle and the unprofessional knot work above needs to be tightened down. I am continually stopping our advance to adjust the pack and weigh one side or the other down with a series of rocks. Side hilling left or right would throw the whole weight distribution off. Richard asks at one point if I have a bible verse for this time. I could feel the frustration in the group so James 3:18 came to mind. “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” We might as well have arrived at the truck, by the time I get the weight, rope, knot, ratio right.
Finally on flat ground, my duties of watching the pack are about over and my attention turns to reflection. My favorite sights on the mountain are the waterfalls and I know I just missed a photo opportunity for at least two of them on the way down. Still, we made it down and we are all together in one piece. I have a moment to rejoice and then start to think about the saddle. The saddle, in my finite mind, is a symbol of our walk with God. I walked for over three hours with nothing on my mind but that saddle and its placement. My attention was not on what I thought I needed to look at. The path was rough and bumpy, but never did I turn my attention from that saddle. This is exactly what God calls every one of us to do. We are to put him first in our minds. We are to fix our gaze only upon him. Deuteronomy 6: 5-9: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your house and on your gates.”
I always hear people talk about the will of God. They are not sure what God’s will is for their life. God’s will is the same for all people of this world. We are to have a personal relationship with Him and serve Him above all else. He wishes to bless us and spend eternity with us. Now God’s plan is a different story. God has a plan for every one of us and it is as unique as the individual. When the saddle shifts right, I stop the whole operation to get myself back on track and proceed. If the path is rough and full of obstacles the Lord will bless my feet with stability and I will march on. If my focus is not on God, how will I know what He wants me to do? God has to have my full undivided attention or I will not know his plan for me. Even when I want to look at waterfalls, I keep my eyes fixed on the Lord.
I also reflected on how wonderful the gift of life was. I can’t believe all the blessings in my life, before I knew they were blessings. I thought about my wife and children, and how I cherished them as beautiful gifts from God. The hunt I was just on was another gift God had bestowed upon me. The simple act of waking in the morning is a gift that should not be squandered. Rejoice with the first waking breath in the morning and thank God for it. Take a posture of thankfulness for a week and see how much more fulfilling life is. You may work hard for what you earn, but God has blessed you with the abilities to do so. Praise God.
I would personally like to thank my boss, mentor, and friend for allowing me to utilize his website for a full three weeks as I presented my elk hunting story. Maybe God will bless me with a hunt next year and I can write again. Godspeed.