Peace In A Tin Can

Peace In A Tin Can

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The more I research the U.P., and I research it every day, the more excited I am to go explore its beautiful wilderness. I leave in 2 1/2 weeks. Having discovered just how much there is to experience in Michigan's northernmost corners, I begged, argued, and pleaded my case to my husband to expand my trip a little bit to allow time to really immerse myself in all the hidden places I want to hike to. After several days of discussion, I finally convinced my husband to let me leave a bit early for the trip, tacking on a couple of days. One of his primary arguments against a longer trip is that my kids still need me; I checked our calendars and pointed out to him that they have time off from school over President's Day weekend and they won't be doing much but hanging out at home when I leave early. But you know how those best-laid plans go. My teenage daughter went to the dentist, and to make a long story short, she has to get her 4 wisdom teeth pulled on the day I had planned to leave. So I am back to my original plan. If you asked me where I'd rather be, I would answer without hesitation that I want to be with my girl and make sure she can handle pain and meds and doesn't develop any infections. The timing couldn't be worse, but this is the only time that fits her schedule. Ah well, I will still have a full week. On the bright side, I now have ammunition to argue for a return trip next winter!

I wish my daughter had not gone to see the movie "Grey". Now she doesn't want me to go because she's afraid I'll get eaten by wolves. She got my husband pretty worked up about it too. I went online and showed them several articles about how rare it actually is to even see a wolf, and even rarer still are attacks on humans. The articles gave good advice for what to do if you do see an aggressive wolf. Wolves really prefer not to be near people. I am not worried. My daughter still is. I think it would be fun to take a blurry picture of myself petting a sled dog, then send it home and tell the family I made friends with a wolf.

The other day I was discussing my trip with a friend who is excited for me and anxious to hear about it when I return. Another woman there was appalled by my desire to walk in the wilderness alone in the middle of winter, worried for my safety. I told her that the danger is minimal, the bear and snakes are hibernating, the wolves avoid humans, and the people I might encounter will be like me, with no interest in harming anyone. But she wouldn't be convinced until I finally shared with her some more personal thoughts. I told her that there is no need to be afraid if you have Faith. There is no easier place to strengthen your faith than in the wilderness. When you immerse yourself in God's world, away from crime and technology and schedules and responsibilities, you can feel God standing right next to you. So in the unlikely event that I encounter a threat to my safety, God will still be standing right next to me, giving me strength. I have no desire to be hurt, or worse, but if you have Faith, you have no fear of dying. I don't seek danger and possible death, but my Faith allows me to know that I am never alone. My Father is always with me.

She isn't quite there, which is why I don't see her joining me anytime soon. I won't give up on sharing my Faith with her though. Maybe she won't ever disappear alone in the wilderness ever in her lifetime, but if I can share with her the comfort my Faith gives me, maybe she can learn to live with the same comfort wherever she goes. Despite what people think, this trip isn't about me. It's about experiencing something far greater, something so awesome and powerful that it makes me feel like I am nothing and everything all at the same time. It's about being in a place that He created to sustain life, and if His purpose in creating it is to spread love and touch the hearts of other people, to share your faith and give others the same peace, then I have a responsibility to show my gratitude for this opportunity to open myself up to the beauty and wonder that He made, and bring the feeling back with me to share with others. Most people will just want to see my pictures, but a few will want to honestly hear about the experience. I'm looking forward to telling them.

In the meantime, I have many things to take care of at home before I leave. It's nice to keep busy, the time passes quickly and when I leave I will know that all my responsibilities here are taken care of. This weekend I am driving to Kentucky to pick my grandma up from her sister's and bring her home. Grandma is 93 years old, and still likes to vacation at her sister's for a few months each year. She will keep me laughing all the way home with stories of her crazy hillbilly relatives. I really hope that when I am 93, I can still travel and do the things I want to, like Gran. She is an amazing lady and I'm excited to bring her home.

I am not excited, however, for my girl to get her wisdom teeth pulled. She is a great kid, strong and uncomplaining, she will be an easy patient. But no matter how routine it is to get your wisdom teeth out, she's MY daughter and I don't want to see her in pain. I think it actually will make it worse that she won't complain. I won't even get to the point where I'm ready to leave her be, because she will be sweet and brave and break my heart. At least I will finally be able to make her eat soup. She doesn't really like soup.

I like working through my days knowing this trip is still ahead of me. It's nice to have something to daydream about and look forward to while I pay bills and prepare our taxes and grocery shop and tackle endless laundry. When I return, I will have my memories, and most likely will begin planning another trip for October to look forward to. Life is good!