by Walter Mow
From a young age I have been saddled with a sharp distrust of most preachers and priests. My grand dad was the person who made God come alive for me. It was he who introduced me to the great out-doors, God’s abode as my grand dad called it. It has been my church every since.
The opening photo in the Grand Canyon series, July 19-25 depicts wooden boats entering a canyon. I was fortunate enough to accompany my grand dad on just such an adventure. The picture of the boats and the canyon they are about to enter brought memories flooding back that had been buried for much of my life.
The fragility of the wooden boat and the canyon we were about to enter was scary to an eight year old boy. Grand dad just put his hands on my shoulders and said, ”Son we are going to visit where God lives”. His demeanor and my trust in him drove all doubt from my young mind.
His death the following spring was a blow to me. That the preacher that handled his funeral would preach him into hell because he did not belong to that particular religious sect soured me on many preachers. Although I endeavor to give them the benefit of the doubt, I often fall short. We often talk about our experiences, this particular part of my life I have told very few.
The confusion and anger that minister roused in my young mind has never completely left me. It left a scar I will carry to my grave. I have been reluctant to talk about this my entire life and am still having trouble even talking with you guys about something as personal as this.
In my search for peace of mind, I ran across two quotes that have for me, some curative powers. Indulge me friends:
“To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and work and to play and to look at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with your yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by you admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor’s except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies, often of your friends, and every day of Christ; and to spend as much time as you can, with body and with spirit , in God’s out-of-doors-these are the little guideposts on the footpath to peace”. Henry Van Dyke, American author (1852-1933)
“When we are young, we are slavishly employed in procuring something whereby we may live comfortably when we grow old; and when we are old, we perceive it is too late to live as we proposed”. Alexander Pope, English poet (1688-1744)
Welcome to God’s out-of-doors and my church, thanks for reading, Walt