Hiking with my brothers (well, two out of three brothers) In Petit Jean State Park in the Ozark foothills last week reminded me how much I enjoy tramping through the woods. There's something about being in the woods that soothes my soul. We saw a towering waterfall, ring necked black snakes, and way too much poison ivy. You really had to watch your step or you would be standing in a nice thick patch of poison ivy just one foot off the trail. Hiking requires sharp eyes - for seeing the beauty of the view once you reach the top - but even more for keeping an eye out for slithering snakes and leaves of three along the journey. You have to pay attention - to where you put your feet and to what's brushing your shoulder as you travel along - but it's worth every step of the journey. Sort of like life.
I recently interviewed a teenager, who talked about the horrors of being jailed a month for addiction issues. While there, he got some lessons from fellow inmates who were shocked he had a loving mother who was working so hard to help him. ‘Was he crazy?’ they asked him. ‘Did he not realize what a gift that was?’ It was a God moment for him, he said. Something subtle shifted in him. He decided to let his mother help him, take her advice and go to the Charleston Recovery Center, a 24/7 substance abuse treatment and recovery setting.
The story is he’s doing great. The mom has no clue how she’s going to pay, but she’ll figure it out as she goes along. “I got my son back,” she said, the pain and exhaustion of years of struggling to help her son showing in her eyes.
Not all stories go down this way.
I wonder about that subtle shift in attitude that brings about a tidal change in life. I think of how hard she worked and pleaded and reasoned, yet it took strangers, fellow inmates, to give perspective. I think how many blessings I miss because I lack gratitude for what I have in plain sight. I thank God for prayer – the ever subtle shifting of attitude.
(If you’re interested in helping this family, visit this gofundme website.