The Gravel Road
When my husband and I got married we soon shared the love for the outdoors and camping.
The big weekend, an all-church camp-out with Brian's parent’s church, was a few days away. We packed food, clothing, shoes, all the items needed for our sweet dog and the many things our daughter needed or thought she needed to go camping. Of course that included the much-desired s'more fix-ins! You can't have a campfire without the finishing touches of chocolate, right? Sometimes I think it takes as long to pack as it does to be away for the weekend, but none-the-less it's the adventure we loved.
We met Brian's parents' friends that weekend. We went fishing, ate and shared stories with them. One of the men who attended was known for his peach cobbler. He was a Boy Scott leader and cooked it underground in hot coals for about 10 hours. It's the kind of dessert that gives me goosebumps when I think about it! We had a fantastic campsite. Jessica, our daughter, had lots of room to play and our dog, Belle, could be with us too. We walked and hiked that weekend to our heart's content.
On Sunday, those who were on the camp-out gathered on a hillside overlooking the valley and the lakes. We had church, sang, took communion and received God's word. Then it was time to leave. So, we packed up again, making sure everything was tidy. Our bumper-pull trailer needed to be "dumped" so we headed down the six-mile gravel road to the highway with our camper hitched up, truck bed loaded, dog in her kennel in the back. Ready to go. It was windy and a bit on the narrow side for two lanes. As we wound our way down and around curves and blind corners, we chatted and reminisced about the great time we had. We rounded a curve in the road and panic hit; there was someone right there in their vehicle, but not confined to their side of the road and heading at us faster than one should be going on a loose gravel road. Brian swerved and we neared the drop-off to the right of the road that looked down into the vast valley.
Somehow, we stayed on the road, adrenaline racing through our veins. Deeply we drew in air and released it, everyone was ok. We traveled on for another 15 minutes to the highway and across it to the dump station. Brian got out and started draining our tanks. I got out to help him and Jessica climbed into the truck bed to check everything there. Panic struck again! The dog carrier was sprung opened and no Belle, no dog, no companion, nothing but emptiness. Our hearts were all beating out of our chests. We finished the job at hand and decided to head back down the gravel road we had just traveled. Our fear rose remembering the swerve, she might have fallen out and tumbled down the mountain.
I was crying, Jess was crying, and Brian was searching. We drove the road slow, looking over drop-offs, steep embankments and the wooded areas. We got to the curve where we met the oncoming truck earlier. We could see our tracks, but no pet – our dog was gone. Cold sweat ensued, crazy-making pursued us. She was alone in a huge National Forest area. My mind was filled with mountain lions, bobcats and the like. We kept driving, looking and searching. We drove the six miles from the curve to our camping spot. As we peered into the spot we had spent so many loving hours laughing, eating and enjoying our weekend, fear gripped us. Our desperate hope running out, we looked through the trees. There she sat - waiting, patiently!
Have you ever lost something you loved and found it again? I don't know if you ever get distracted by worldly things we “need to do” or we think we do. Or how many times God finds us in a lost space sitting there looking for familiarity. I know I get distracted, lost in the weeds of life sometimes. But I'm so thankful we have a Savior who even when we are thrown off course, will find us, will pursue us and who will not let us go.