There are multiple, various terrains and hundreds of miles that I’ve covered in the last few years in the rough country. I not only hiked, but experienced many trails and circumstances, some more vividly unforgettable than others, and each demonstrated a connection between the physical aspects with the spiritual similarities. On my own, I doubt that I would have “connected the dots”, but a newly opened heart towards my Lord allowed me to hear His prompting, His gentle directing, His tutoring. Meanwhile, I am alert and eager to get back on trail, because
He is training me while I’m in the wilderness.
I even found humor while on trail, among the rocky terrain, among the freezing barrenness of the mountaintop. The greedy antics of a particular chipmunk was pretty amusing. I had summited (10,064’) and I retrieved my negligible baggie of GORP and began to snack. Out from the horseshoe-shaped rock shelter that previous hikers have constructed on this windy, barren, & cold peak scrambles the cutest chipmunk. I mean, this is Chip’s buddy, BFF Dale kind of cute. He has apparently heard the rustle of the plastic bag and knows that means treat time. Two problems: one, I covered my GORP with chili powder (for that little extra zip; yeah-boy!) and two, I have very limited rations since I hadn’t planned to completely summit. I set the bag down and notice that this little fella, as he darts and dashes evasively, is targeting my baggie. It becomes obvious what his intentions are. GORP. I seriously think he intends to snatch the entire bag, so I pick it back up and off he scampers.
He has apparently thought up Plan B and peeks out from among the tightly fitted rock to see if the Food Source is still around. Apparently he realizes just how irresistible he is to the Food Source and it works. I dig out some nuts, scrub off the chili powder the best I can and toss a few nuggets to the ground in front of me. I think his eyes actually get bigger at this presentation. He scurries to the left, skirmishes to the right, fakes a reverse and stutter-steps it to the nuts, gathers them, zig zags a defensive line, deftly wraps around an invisible offense, completes a Hook and Ladder trick play, then finally into the rock den for the ultimate touchdown. And the crowd cheers!
Not long after, here he is again. What a trooper! I picture that cereal commercial, “Hey, Mikey! He likes it! He likes it!” He has shot out of the chipmunk cave through a different opening between the rocks; apparently there are many entrances and exits to his rock hideaway. Ok, I can spare a few more and I find some dried corn nuts in the mix, somewhat wipe them of the chili powder, and toss them to the ground. I can’t help but wonder if he’s eaten what he has “robbed” previously, and if so, picturing his head thrown back in surprise at the spicy seasoning with a jolting lift beginning with its hind legs.
He goes through the fake-out routine again, tiny pattering feet zipping, tapping the erratic beat, sudden stops, checking out the Food Source for aggressive behavior I suppose and snags the corn nut. Off he goes, totally gleeful at his found treasure. I picture him giggling once inside his shelter, one manic chipmunk.
Well now I don’t need to wonder if he’s storing the nuts or eating them because I can hear this loud crunch! crunch! going on within the rock habitat. This is hysterical, what an unexpected entertainment high on top of this barren mountain. I finish the GORP, minus a few more corn nuts and peanuts.
I say goodbye to Dale, ask him to give my best to his BFF for me in their miniature man-cave because if he can handle the spicy mix, plus chow down on those hard corn nuts, he has graduated from chipmunk-cave to man-cave, oh yeah, definitely.
I am smiling at the memory of an adorable chipmunk and not as aware of the painful knees and toe-bang along the steep, rocky way down the mountain.
There is always opportunity for humor, regardless of our challenges. Sometimes the humorous is right in front of us waiting to be recognized. And sometimes we need to reach down deep for it. But plowing through our challenges, our battlefields without first, the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-18) and secondly, without the rich seasoning of humor the bland rocky path becomes more concentrated and intolerable.
Right now, there are tremendous changes happening, some bearing the possibility of catastrophic results. I can not imagine experiencing the constant political, financial, medical, and relational bombardment of negativity with somehow leaving my humor behind, lost on one of the trails of Life Is Difficult. Also, I truly can’t imagine surviving today and seeking tomorrow without a personal relationship with God. It’s an important time to get our relationship on the correct course.
I’m so grateful that He, in His likeness, integrated in my God-given character a sense of humor!